The Christmas tree is the symbol of the holiest Christian holiday. And if you celebrate Xmas in Greece, there is a good chance that your Christmas tree comes from Taxiarchis. It is a traditional village in the heart of Halkidiki, surrounded by dense forests. And Taxiarchis is the main supplier of Xmas trees in Greece.
About the Taxiarchis village
Located some 670 meters (2200 feet) above sea level, the mountain village of Taxiarchis is the chief center of the Christmas tree cultivation. We all know that pine trees are cut without the slightest regard for nature all over the world. But, the locals in this part of Greece live by the Xmas tree cultivation, managing to balance growing and harvesting. More so, for every tree cut, they plant two. Besides for growing trees, Taxiarchis is popular for nearby mountain hiking trails.
How people of Taxiarchis grow Christmas trees
Growing fir trees that will end up sold eventually is a very detailed and time-consuming process. First, the villagers plant seeds in the nursery, where they remain the next two years. The next step is to take them to the fields, where they grow during the 15-year period. Thanks to the mild climate of Halkidiki, the chances of success are big, albeit bad weather tends to cause trouble and occasional loses.
With the arrival of November, preparations for harvesting are underway. Trees marked for the Xmas market are carefully selected. Of around 100,000 trees planted each year, about half the number is planned to be harvested. Yet, this largely depends on the sales from the last Christmas season since sellers don’t want to cut down more trees than necessary.
Xmas trees trade
The entire annual work comes down to the sale around Christmas for the people of Taxiarchis. Many of them travel with their load of Xmas trees hundreds of kilometers to try to sell them. You may see them at various markets most of the day, including in Athens and Thessaloniki.
Once the holiday is over, the villagers of Taxiarchis have already begun preparations for the next Xmas season.