Oregon Christmas tree farmers to millennials: Buy real, not fake

KPTV photo.

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Area Christmas tree farmers are losing business year after year to fake trees, and now, they are trying to buck the trend.

When you move into your first house or apartment, that’s when traditions are made. Cutting down the perfect tree and putting it up around Christmas could be one of those traditions, but more and more, people are opting for fake trees.

Casey Grogan with Silverbell Trees harvested 60,000 trees this year. That sounds like a lot, but it’s half of what he did just ten years ago.

“We are about half the size we used to be, and I think a lot of farms are in a similar position,” Grogan said.

He says, partly to blame are artificial trees, now a $1 billion business.

“We’ve seen a rise in sales of artificial trees," Grogan said. "That makes it a real challenge for real tree growers to estimate how many to put in the ground."

Artificial trees are becoming more realistic, come with pre-strung lights, and are easy to store. Between 75% and 805 of Americans who have a Christmas tree are using an artificial one.

“Artificial trees are made out of plastic in a factory in china and shipped across the ocean,” Grogan said. “Real trees are planted on a farm and planted for the purpose of being a Christmas tree.”

Some Christmas tree farmers are trying to combat the trend and have formed the Christmas Tree Promotion Board. Their social media campaign this year is called, "It’s Christmas. Keep it real!” Their target for new customers are millennials, hoping they will establish new traditions that include the experience of getting a live tree from a farm.

“It’s great for them to get out and connect with nature and bring a piece of nature into their home and continue to enjoy it,” Grogan said.

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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