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Christmas tree growers see increase in sales

Catalan Christmas tree growers have been greatly affected by the crisis, with an almost 50% sales drop in recent years. Growers hope that exporting Christmas trees to countries like France and Portugal will help them come out of the crisis.

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10 December 2010 10:38 PM

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ACN / Tània Tàpia

Sant Hilari Sacalm (ACN).- Based out of Sant Hilari Sacalm, in the central hilly area of Guilleries and Montseny, the Christmas Tree Growers Association of Catalonia (CANAC) sold more trees than last year. Before the crisis, the 34 growers of the Guilleries Mountains sold 1 million trees each year. Since the crisis hit, sales have dropped by more than half. According to the president of CANAC, Albert Gallifa, 700,000 trees have been sold this year so far. The Association also exports trees, and in the past 2 years, France has become one of their most important clients.


A Christmas tree can cost between 6 and 180 euros depending on its size, type and whether or not it will last past the Christmas season. However, the economic crisis has spurred an increase in the number of artificial Christmas trees.

Before the crisis, the 34 CANAC growers managed to sell 1 million Christmas trees a year. But that number has dropped drastically. The president of CANAC, Albert Gallifa, said that this year he has seen a slight increase in sales. According to Gallifa, this makes him optimistic, especially for species like the Spruce tree, which is experiencing more sales because it is cheaper than other types.

The Christmas tree growers use traditional methods to cultivate and remove the trees. Many trees spend 5 years in the Guilleries forest before they are ready to be sold. \u201CThere are small plots of land here and we cannot produce millions and millions of trees\u201D, explained Gallifa. Gallifa is working together with the Sant Hilari Town Council to get the trees recognised with the Guilleries Denomination of Origin (DO). \u201CIt would give an added value to our products that are ecologically cultivated\u201D.

During the past month, tractors and trailers full of Christmas trees have been driving through the streets of Sant Hilari. In Sant Hilari alone, there are 20 Christmas tree producers. He explained that among the producers, there are some that also distribute the trees but that the majority asks that clients pick them up.

After spending years in the forest, removing the Christmas trees is a detailed process. They must first be tied and then removed from the ground with a hoe. Once they are removed from the ground, they travel to places all over Spain, and also Europe.

Exportation, an opportunity for the future

Of all the Christmas trees, 30% are sold in Catalonia and 55% go to the rest of Spain. \u201CAlmost 90% of the trees from Spain come from this zone [Guilleries],\u201D explained Gallifa.

The other 15% go to countries like Portugal and France. According to Gallifa, France has become a very important client. \u201CAlmost every French home has a Christmas tree and they cannot produce them all themselves\u201D. In the past 2 years, sales to France have increased significantly. \u201CThey have noticed the quality of our trees\u201D, said Gallifa.

For the Association, exporting to countries like France is the \u201Cfuture\u201D. Obtaining recognition such as the Denomination of Origin (DO) seal will also help the sector to come out of the crisis.

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  • Christmas tree growers in Sant Hilari Sacalm (by T. Tàpia)

  • Christmas tree growers in Sant Hilari Sacalm (by T. Tàpia)