Lunenburg County, where I live, is considered the Christmas Tree Capital of the World. There’s a big sign on the highway to prove it. Honest. Apparently, the cool and moist climate here in Nova Scotia is ideal for growing balsam fir trees. Take a drive anywhere in the region and you’ll run into a Christmas Tree Farm. Annual exports exceed 3.5 million trees. That’s a pretty big industry.
Nova Scotia Balsam Fir trees have become the Christmas tree of choice throughout North America for a few good reasons: They are lush, fragrant and hold their needles for a long time – even in warmer climates. Nova Scotia Balsam Fir has become the smell of Christmas. I smelled it today.
While out for an easy 5K this morning, I was nearly overcome with the smell of Christmas. There is a huge Christmas Tree Transfer Station just across the river from my house. Growers truck their crop to this huge area. Trees are piled onto 18 wheelers or into shipping containers. It’s a pretty cool operation. It sort of caught me by surprise.
Smell triggers so many things for me and a million memories of Christmas flashed before me on this day. I was suddenly an adventurous 10 year old boy building a winter woods fort - burrowing into snow beneath the skirt of a huge Balsam Fir. Wow. Where did that come from?
Christmas in Nova Scotia is really quite beautiful. Since 1971, a special tree is chosen each winter to send to the people of Boston to express appreciation for their help during the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion. The explosion on December 9, 1917, was caused by the collision of two ships in Halifax Harbour. Nearly 2,000 died. Thousands more were injured. Boston was the first to send relief, offering the services of doctors and nurses, and sending supplies. So, with great pride we send a huge Christmas tree each year to our friends in Boston, whose outpouring of kindness in 1917 will never be forgotten.
Keep running. Keep smelling.
Wish my running shoes smelled better.