Christmas trees will be allowed as ‘essential’ shopping in France

Christmas trees will be allowed as 'essential' shopping in France
France might be spending Christmas this year under lockdown, but luckily trees will be allowed. Photo: AFP
French shoppers might be limited to essential purchases only under the current lockdown, but in festive news - the government has said that it will designate Christmas trees as essential items.

According to a report in the Journal du Dimanche, the French government will shortly publish a decree laying out the rules of Christmas tree selling under lockdown rules, with garden centres, open-air markets and supermarket car parks suggested as likely venues for sale points.

The decree follows lobbying from the Christmas tree industry, which feared a total collapse of its annual sales as  retailers only are permitted to sell 'essential' items under the current lockdown rules.

France's second lockdown allows only certain stores such as supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies to open, and even supermarkets are not allowed to sell 'non essential' items such as clothes, DVDs and books. Most other types of stores – including florists which sell trees at Christmas – are closed although they are allowed to offer 'click and collect' services.

The current lockdown runs until December 1st, although the government has been clear that it could be extended if the health situation requires it. France's Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon said on Monday that the second wave has not yet reached its peak.

READ ALSO Why do the French eat so much seafood at Christmas?

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The presidential Christmas tree traditionally comes from Morvan in eastern France. Photo: AFP

And it seems that some people are already resigning themselves to a Christmas spent under lockdown, with one poll showing that 71 percent of people in France would agree to lockdown being continued over the festive season, if the health situation demanded it.

Having a real Christmas tree in the home is popular in France, with about five million sold every year. The largest Christmas-tree growing region is Morvan natural park in eastern France, which supplies the tree to the president's Elysée Palace every year.

READ ALSO Morvan: Why you should visit one of France's most beautiful and least known natural parks

However the cut trees are not popular with environmentalists and several of France's Green party mayors, including the mayor of Bordeaux, have said their cities will not have Christmas trees this year, but will instead feature festive displays of live plants and trees.

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