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US top importer of Christmas trees, decor from China, Vietnam, Mexico

The United States is the biggest global importer of Christmas trees, lights and decorations each year, spending billions of dollars annually to get into the holiday spirit.

China dominates the global market and supply chain for decorations and artificial Christmas trees, with other countries, such as Cambodia and Mexico, also exporting a significant volume of holiday goods to the U.S. every year.

Globally, China shipped almost $10 billion worth of Christmas trees and decorations abroad in 2022, with the U.S. as its biggest customer, according to Statista. The U.S. imported $3.17 billion worth of Christmas decorations from China in 2022.

In addition to China, the U.S. also sources most of its Christmas lights and candles from other Asian countries every holiday season, including $374.6 million for Christmas tree lights from Cambodia, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“China led the way with 89.8% of the U.S. total imports of Christmas decorations,” according to a recent study from the Census Bureau. “Cambodia … [accounted for] 66% of the total U.S. imports of LED Christmas tree lights.”

The United States imported over $374.6 million worth of Christmas lights from Cambodia in 2022. (Photo: Shutterstock)

From Vietnam, the U.S. imported more than $1 billion worth of tapered Christmas candles in 2022, representing almost 50% of the Asian country’s total Christmas candle market.

The Christmas ornament trade is also big business in Mexico, which exports everything from poinsettias to Christmas tree ornaments to holiday candies to the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Each year, the towns of Tlalpujahua and Chignahuapan in central Mexico produce more than 150 million blown-glass Christmas tree ornaments, the majority of which are exported to the U.S., as well as to cities across Central and South America.

Marta Guerrero, the tourism director for the Mexican state of Puebla, where Chignahuapan is located, said at a recent press conference that Chignahuapan Christmas tree ornaments are shipped as far as Rome, Miami, New York and Los Angeles.

Both Tlalpujahua and Chignahuapan have built their economies around the production of Christmas ornaments, with over 400 workshops producing products year-round.

Mexican officials have estimated that exports of Christmas ornaments from Tlalpujahua and Chignahuapan generate as much as $20 million a year.

In addition, Mexico exports more than 20 million poinsettias each year to the United States, as well as to Japan and countries in Europe, generating over $50 million in sales annually.

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