Millennials' Holiday Preferences Are Saving The Christmas Tree Industry

Naomi Kennedy

Millennials have been blamed for "killing" a number of things -- from napkins to diamonds to the divorce rate -- but, in a shocking turn of events, the youngsters are now being thanked for their services.

As Vox reports, the Christmas tree industry is thriving, thanks to the resurgence of real Christmas trees, which are the preferred choice of millennials.

According to Square Inc., a financial services company that partnered with the National Christmas Tree Association for their million-dollar "Keep It Real" campaign (highlighting the benefits of real Christmas trees), the influx of millennials in the Christmas tree market is a major reason for the revival of live trees and a profitable industry for the first time in years.

Per Square Inc., the 30-percent rise in the purchase of artificial trees since 1992 was due to baby boomers becoming empty-nesters as their children grew up, no longer feeling the need to go through the hassle of bracing the winter temperatures for a live tree. But, now, their millennial kids have become young adults who shop for trees of their own and are leaning towards the real Christmas trees from their childhoods, which the National Christmas Tree Association posits is, in part, because of their nostalgic aspect, as well as the ever-growing concern for the environment.

In reality, farmers grow Christmas trees with the intention of cutting them down and sending them to market, and they require considerably fewer resources to grow than the artificial options composed of PVC plastic, steel, and aluminum, not to mention packaging and other materials required to send them from Asia -- where, Vox noted, the majority of them are manufactured -- to the United States.

Real trees also boast a positive effect on the environment, post-holiday season, as they can be recycled or turned into mulch or biofuel, while fake trees, not being recyclable or biodegradable, sit in landfills for generations, adding to plastic pollution.

"You're not doing any harm by cutting down a Christmas tree," botanist Cling Springer told the New York Times. "A lot of people think artificial is better because you're preserving the life of a tree. But in this case, you've got a crop that's being raised for that purpose."

"While prices have increased over the past two years, this is the first time in more than a decade that many local tree farmers are profitable," the National Christmas Tree Association's Executive Director Tim O'Connor told Square Up. "Now more than ever, we hope to see families support American Christmas tree farmers, and create their own holiday tradition and family memories of choosing a locally grown tree this Christmas."