Last week the government announced that Christmas trees would be regarded as “essential items”, meaning that selling and buying them would not be banned by the lockdown rules currently in place.
The government has now published the decree so that “The bans mentioned.. do not prevent the sale of Christmas trees” and sales can begin from Friday, November 20th.
The decree states that sales must happen outside or through delivery or pick-up (click and collect) services.
Ventes de sapins : “On va pouvoir acheter des sapins à #Noël“, insiste @J_Denormandie. Le décret est attendu “cette semaine” selon lui, et nécessite d'ultimes arbitrages. #AuditionPublique pic.twitter.com/Y3iuNk9UM1
— Public Sénat (@publicsenat) November 16, 2020
The decision to allow for Christmas tree sales during the lockdown came after intense lobbying from the industry, which feared a total collapse of its annual sales as retailers only are permitted to sell 'essential' items under the current lockdown rules.
“It is very important for French families, children and for the sector,” said French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie as he confirmed the Christmas tree sales could begin on November 20th.
“The sector is getting organised, the producers are hard at work,” the minister told RMC in an interview on Tuesday morning.
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.
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.
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.