A new farm bill is resurrecting the idea of a tax on sales of all real Christmas trees at a rate of fifteen cents per tree. The last time this proposal was brought forward some media outlets declared the proposal as another battle in the War on Christmas. In reality, the bill and the per-tree tax is intended to help the real tree industry and has the endorsement of many American Christmas tree growers.
“I still find the whole thing hard to believe,” said Betty Malone, an Oregon tree farmer who’s a former president of Christmas Tree Promotion Now.
The promotion program would raise about $2 million annually for advertising, similar to the much larger industry-funded programs for beef and milk (think “Milk does a body good” and “Beef: It’s what’s for dinner”), among others. After three years, the Christmas tree industry would conduct a referendum on whether to continue the fee of 15 cents per tree.
“As demographics and buying habits have changed, we have watched the market for real trees shrink drastically, requiring us to spend much more time and money on promotion,” Don Cameron, a past president of the California Christmas Tree Association, said previously.
The industry can use a boost. Inflationary concerns, a poor economy and growing competition from fake trees made in China have caused many consumers to question the affordability of real Christmas trees.
Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is publishing another book, this one about Christmas.
Palin signed a deal with HarperCollins for “A Happy Holiday IS a Merry Christmas,” scheduled for November. HarperCollins announced Monday that the book will criticize the “over-commercialism” and “homogenization” of Christmas and call for a renewed emphasis on the religious importance.
“Amidst the fragility of this politically correct era, it is imperative that we stand up for our beliefs before the element of faith in a glorious and traditional holiday like Christmas is marginalized and ignored,” Palin said in a statement released through her publisher. “This will be a fun, festive, thought provoking book, which will encourage all to see what is possible when we unite in defense of our faith and ignore the politically correct Scrooges who would rather take Christ out of Christmas.”
The book is scheduled to hit store shelves in November of 2013.
Balsam Hill of Redwood City, CA, is recalling about 700 pre-lit artificial Christmas trees.
The remote control receiver box attached to the Christmas tree can overheat and melt, posing burn and shock hazards to consumers. The company has received 10 reports of overheating and melting, but no injuries have been reported.
The artificial Christmas trees are pre-lit with both multi-color and clear lights that are operated by a remote control. Some larger trees have two remote control receiver boxes attached to the tree. The Christmas trees are green and stand between 7 ½ and 15 feet tall. Trees with the following model numbers are included in this recall:
Model Number Tree Name Lighting Type
6528502 103913 0112 12′ Vermont White Spruce™ Color+Clear
6528502 130645 0112 15′ California Baby Redwood Color+Clear
6528502 134152 0112 9′ Colorado Mountain Spruce Color+Clear
6528502 134394 0112 12′ Colorado Mountain Spruce Color+Clear
6528502 216632 0112 7.5′ Aspen Estate Fir Color+Clear
6528502 248622 0112 9′ BH Fraser Fir™ Color+Clear
6528502 296214 0112 12′ California Baby Redwood Color+Clear
6528502 307403 0112 12′ BH Fraser Fir™ Color+Clear
6528502 363842 0112 9′ Vermont White Spruce™ Narrow Color+Clear
6528502 364143 0112 10′ Vermont White Spruce™ Color+Clear
6528502 364453 0112 11′ Vermont White Spruce™ Color+Clear
6528502 364762 0112 10′ BH Fraser Fir™ Color+Clear
The model number is located on the tree’s packaging. Date code H1203 is printed on a white label on the back of the remote control box attached to the tree.
The trees, manufactured in China and Taiwan, were sold Online at www.balsamhill.com from July 2012 through December 2012 for between $1,250 and $3,550.
Consumers should immediately stop using the Christmas tree’s remote control units and contact Balsam Hill for free replacement remote control devices. Balsam Hill is contacting its customers directly.