Catch the Holiday Spirit Ontario Style

174
An Ontario Grown Christmas tree shopping locally helps the economy
An Ontario Grown Christmas tree shopping locally helps the economy

An Ontario Grown Christmas tree shopping locally helps the economy
An Ontario Grown Christmas tree shopping locally helps the economy

Capture the Holiday Spirit with an Ontario Grown Tree

THUNDER BAY – This holiday season use Ontario-grown Christmas trees, garlands and wreaths to create a Christmas wonderland inside and outside your home.

“If you’re pining for that perfect tree, a real locally-grown Christmas tree is the perfect choice,” says Bill Mauro, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “Among other things, they’re all-natural, 100 per cent biodegradable and there’s no assembly required.”

Staff at more than 670 Ontario Christmas tree farms work as year-round Santa’s helpers to grow and harvest over a million Christmas trees a year. With those numbers, the odds of finding a perfect one are pretty good.

Make finding that perfect Christmas tree part of your holiday tradition for years to come. Visit one of Ontario’s many Christmas tree farms to purchase a freshly-cut tree or take matters into your own hands and cut one down at the farm yourself. Take the rest of the day to enjoy fun-filled winter activities offered at many of the farms, such as sleigh rides, campfires and hot chocolate to cap off your family’s memorable day.

Buying fresh locally grown Christmas trees, garlands and wreaths at farms or from local retailers offers valuable benefits, according to Mauro and partners in the ministry’s Ontario Wood program, including the Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario (CTFO) and Forests Ontario. By buying locally grown holiday greenery, you’re helping to support sustainably-grown Ontario Wood products that are good for the economy and the environment.

“There’s an important economic benefit in buying locally-grown Christmas trees and associated greenery,” says Mauro. “In buying local, you’re helping to support businesses in your own community and, by extension, the economy of Ontario.”

Ontario grown Christmas trees
Ontario grown Christmas trees help capture the holiday spirit

“Christmas trees are grown as a sustainable agricultural crop, staying in the ground for about 10 years before being harvested,” said Shirley Brennan, Executive Director of the CTFO.

“When trees are harvested each year, the excess branches are salvaged for use in garlands and wreaths, reducing waste during this process, and new seedlings are planted to ensure a ready supply of Christmas trees for future holiday seasons,” continued Brennan.

Robert Keen, Chief Executive Officer of Forests Ontario, commented, “Christmas tree farms play an important role in supporting healthy ecosystems and human health.”

“These trees provide wildlife habitat protection for small birds and animals and, for all of us, they’re literally a breath of fresh air,” Keen says. “They act as air pollution filters, soaking up carbon dioxide emitted by cars, planes and homes, turning it into oxygen. In fact, every acre (about 0.4 hectares) of planted Christmas trees provides the daily oxygen needed by 18 people.”

The benefits of Christmas trees are not finished once the holidays are over. Many municipalities collect the trees on designated collection days and use them in shoreline rehabilitation projects or chip them for use as mulch in municipal parks and flower beds. They can also be re-used at home to protect shrubs from snow build-up, as a stake for climbing plants, for making mulch out of branches and needles, or using it for woodworking projects.

Mauro says, “Given their many benefits, you really can feel good about buying locally-grown Christmas trees, garlands and wreaths.”

To ensure you’re purchasing Ontario-grown Christmas trees and greenery, “Look for the Leaf” – the Ontario Wood logo tag – on or near these products or ask the retail vendor where their trees were sourced.

To find a Christmas tree farm closest to you, go to christmastrees.on.ca.

To find Ontario Wood products, producers and supporters near you, visit Ontario.ca/wood.

Tips to keep holiday greenery great

  • When selecting a tree, check for freshness. Choose a tree with strong green colour and a noticeable fragrance. Gently bend a needle to determine if it’s resilient or not. An unfrozen needle should form a “u” shape without breaking.
  • Choose fir, balsam or cedar for your decorative greenery as they dry out more slowly than other evergreens.
  • Once home, store your tree and greenery in a sheltered but unheated area such as a porch or garage.
  • When you’re ready to bring the tree indoors, make a straight cut across the trunk about two centimetres from its end, enabling the tree to better absorb water.
  • Once inside, place a tree-moving bag at the base of your tree to allow for easy disposal in January and secure the tree in its stand. Fill the stand with about four litres of water. Ensure the tree is hydrated at all times. Mist greenery with water every few days.
  • Place your tree and greenery away from heat sources, including fireplaces, television sets, radiators and sunny windows, to prevent it from drying prematurely.
  • Before decorating, ensure all electric lights and connections are in good condition. Never use combustible decorations or lighted candles on a tree or greenery and always unplug lights before retiring to bed or leaving the house.