Saturday, November 26, 2005

First Blog Entry

The initial blog entry...and it was tough deciding which topics to discuss. There are many to choose from, especially on opening sales weekend. I probably should have started this sooner.

This will be the 8th year of managing public relations for the Christmas Tree industry, and it has been an interesting experience. Although some friends and associates refer to me now as “the christmas tree guy” there is still much I can learn about how Christmas Trees are grown, harvested, marketed and sold. Often, I am forced to learn something because of a question sent via email from a consumer. It is for this reason, that we urged the association leadership to authorize us to start an interactive blog on the web site.

My hope is that the blog will be a fun, entertaining and interesting feature which allows people to express feelings and ask questions.

This kind of question is very common the first weekend after Thanksgiving. John sent the following email: When is the best time to buy a real Christmas tree?

There is no exact answer we can provide to that question. There is no “best” time or “worst” time to get your tree. But, since Christmas Eve is 4 weeks from today, I would advise John or anyone else that you can get your tree any time you’d like now. Generally, any species in any location will be able to stay fresh and aromatic for 4 weeks. We’ve compiled a pretty comprehensive list of care tips on the site and urge everyone to read them and follow them.

Speaking of care tips, every year there are varied tips and suggestions on how to care for a cut Christmas Tree. Last year, a TV station in the Pacific Northwest aired a story on their newscast that said it was recommended that you add vodka to the tree’s water stand. Their source for this recommendation? architect who decided to share a drink with his tree one year!! Now there’s “expert” advice for you. We were in the office late that day disseminating a Consumer Alert countering that really bad advice. Alcohol, chemically speaking, is a desiccant that breaks down plant tissue...very bad for a tree.

Because there are so many conflicting bits and pieces of tips and suggestions available, we get a lot of questions on this topic and it will be most likely be a recurring topic on the blog. We’d like to hear from you some of the more bizarre tree care suggestions you’ve heard over the years. Post them as a response and we’ll use the more interesting ones and explain why they actually would or wouldn’t work.

As for news, this coming week kicks off the domestic deliveries in the Trees for Troops program. If you haven’t heard about this, go back to the home page and look for the link in the bottom right corner. Monday will be both the first pick up of trees and delivery of trees to the first military base, Ft. Lewis in Washington state. Monday is also the day the White House Christmas Tree is presented to the First Lady by the NCTA Grand Champions.

Speaking of the White House Christmas Tree, every year we get e-mails from people who want to donate a tree in their yard to be the White House Christmas Tree. It’s like a small piece of the news about the White House Christmas Tree got through, but not the details. The tree is presented each year by the NCTA Grand Champion. How do you become Grand Champion? Well, the first thing to do is farm Christmas Trees for a living. You have to be a professional grower and a member of NCTA. It’s not simply a matter of having an evergreen tree that needs cut down. The second thing is you have to win a tree contest in your state/regional association, which qualifies you to enter a tree in the national tree contest. “Entering a tree” is literally taking a tree you have grown on your farm to a meeting and having it judged against other trees grown by other farmers. It is an extremely difficult challenge, and winning the national contest really is the pinnacle of the Christmas Tree farming profession.

Monday will be a very interesting day here at the association office.

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