It seems the sour economic times are lowering not only budgets, but also Italy's Christmas trees. The national farmer's association Coldiretti has said the recession is having an impact on the nation's seasonal celebrations, with Italians buying smaller Christmas trees this year.
Italy alone spends 140 million euro on approximately 6 million live Christmas trees, which can range in cost from 15 to a staggering 500 euro, depending on size. Live trees are slightly preferred to artificial ones, which Coldiretti cites are more damaging to the environment: 'the majority of artificial trees come from China and their production and transport gives them a serious carbon footprint; also it takes more than 200 years for artificial trees to decompose.'
However, Italy's consumers are now seeking live trees that are about 1.5 metres high, some 30 centimetres shorter than the ones they preferred last year. Coldiretti says the change reflects the combined effects of the climate, less household space and, most of all, the recession.