Friday, November 20, 2020

Image courtesy of IKEA


THE sale of real Irish Christmas trees has soared throughout the latest Covid-19 lockdown compared with the same period last year.

That’s according to the Irish Christmas Tree Growers, the all-Ireland organisation of Christmas tree farmers who are preparing for their busiest period of the year, with the 2020 harvest well underway, supplying families and businesses in the lead-up to the festive period.

Commenting on the development, chair of the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Martin Kelleher said: “We have seen a significant increase in demand for real Irish Christmas trees this year compared with the same period in 2019, demonstrating an appetite among Irish people to start the 2020 Christmas festivities earlier. Our members are reporting that the number of trees sold and ordered for collection or delivery to date has increased by well over 50%, the vast majority of which are coming through online orders.

The latest Covid-19 restrictions have forced us all to change the way we live and work. It has driven some of our customers online to pre-order their real Christmas tree in numbers that we could never have anticipated. In 2019 on my own farm, our online sales did not really start until the end of November. In 2020, we saw orders starting to come in towards the end of October. It’s still almost two weeks until December and this extradentary trend being reflected by our members across the country.”

Mr Kelleher added: “People want a real Christmas tree and the message we’re hearing from our customers is that they want to go to the extra effort to bring joy into their homes this Christmas. Many have commented that the absence of any significant Halloween celebrations this year for children has resulted in a greater emphasis on marking the Christmas period.”

Ireland’s maritime climate provides the ideal conditions for growing quality Christmas trees and over the years, Irish Christmas tree production has matured and the product offered is now one of the best in Europe.

Concluding on how purchasing an Irish Christmas tree helps support environmental sustainability and the local economy, Mr Kelleher said: “Sustainability is the cornerstone of what we do as Christmas tree growers. Each year, after a crop of Christmas trees is harvested, a new crop is planted to replace it. It takes up to nine years to grow a two-metre Christmas tree. Our Christmas tree farms are homes to a diverse natural environment of wildlife such as bees, animals and birds.

This is in addition to the benefits from carbon sequestration as each individual farm sequesters and stores tons of carbon from the atmosphere each year. In keeping with our model of sustainability, real trees can be mulched after Christmas and returned to the soil as a soil conditioner or used as compost. This is in direct contrast with the mostly oil-based plastic trees that are produced in China and then imported into Ireland, which raise serious questions about the environment and sustainability. The difference between a real tree and an artificial one is as simple as oil vs soil, with the added benefit of supporting local communities and the economy, at a time when Irish jobs are more important than ever.”

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