Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell honored a 168-year old tradition when he proclaimed December 2010 Christmas Tree Month in the Commonwealth. In 1842, a professor at the College of William and Mary named Charles Minnegerode introduced the German custom of the Christmas tree to the citizens of Williamsburg when he decorated a tree with strings of popcorn, gilded nuts and lighted candles.
The decorations may have changed over the decades but for Virginians, the tradition of choosing fresh, locally grown Christmas trees has become one of the most popular of the holiday season. Today Virginia Christmas trees are an essential part of the seasonal celebration.
Selecting, harvesting and decorating real Virginia grown Christmas trees bring families and friends together to share the joy and good will of the Christmas season. And the advantages don’t stop there. When buyers choose real Virginia Christmas trees, their purchases benefit the grower, the environment and the state’s economy as well as those who enjoy the tree’s freshness, fragrance and lasting beauty.
Real Virginia Christmas trees contribute to a healthy environment by adding oxygen to the air, providing wildlife habitat and increasing soil stability. Virginia Christmas trees are a renewable resource and for every one harvested, two to three seedlings are planted in its place.
The Governor’s proclamation noted that consumers can drive an hour or less in any direction in Virginia and find fresh Virginia Grown Christmas trees to purchase. At those farms and retail stands, they will be able to choose from a wide variety including white and Scotch pines, Norway and Colorado blue spruces as well as Douglas and Fraser firs. Buying real Christmas trees from Virginia growers helps them maintain their agricultural operations and helps expand the overall economy of the state.
For information about fresh Virginia Grown Christmas trees, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has published the 2010 Virginia Grown Christmas Tree Guide, available online at www.virginiagrown.com, by calling 804.786.3951 or by sending a request to VDACS, PO Box 1163, Richmond, VA 23218.
Governor McDonnell’s Christmas Tree Month proclamation is available here.