Prices up on live, artificial Christmas trees this year

Fertilizer and trucking costs spur increases.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

There is still more than a month until Christmas, but with prices on everything up this year, folks are already thinking about where to purchase their live Christmas trees.

Ohio Christmas tree farmer Bryan Keeton is among those getting an early start. Keeton owns Big Tree Plantation.

After two tough pandemic years, with trucking problems and staffing issues, he’s hoping for a stellar season.

“Actually this year we have more trees than we had the past couple of years,” he told us, walking around his expansive farm covered with fir trees.

He has seen a resurgence in demand for live trees since the pandemic: Pre-cut, or cut your own, like those he grows in his fields.

“We could sell 4,000 trees a year,” he said.

He is trying to keep his live prices at last year’s levels.

Prices up on both live and artificial trees this year

But, many farms have no choice but to raise prices due to soaring fertilizer and trucking costs.

A national survey of tree growers found back-end costs are up 11 percent or more.

Most growers — 71% — say wholesale prices will be up 5-15 percent compared to last year.

So with prices high on live trees, what about those artificial trees? They can be used for several seasons.

The good news that you’ll find supplies back to the levels where they were before the pandemic. The shortages of last year are gone.

But, don’t wait. Demand is at an all-time high.

E-commerce accelerator Pattern recently looked at online demand for artificial Christmas trees.

They found searches on Amazon were up 59 percent in July, and 60 percent in August, compared with a year ago.

Why so early?

Dallin Hatch of Pattern says some consumers were worried about drought, others about continued supply problems.

He also says many people made lifestyle changes during the pandemic, such as moving from a city apartment to the suburbs.

“They might have more room in their house and maybe can actually get a real, or perhaps a full-size tree for the first time,” he said.

What you can do

To save money, Hatch suggests people:

  • Buy early, before the best deals are gone.
  • Look for Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales at big box stores.
  • Or wait to buy an artificial tree until after the holidays, if you have an older one in the closet or attic.

Even if prices are higher this year, Hatch says more people seem willing to spend the money if it is on something that brings holiday joy.

“Some of these rituals that we have when it comes to holidays,” he explained, “it’s a way for us to escape some of the stresses that we’re feeling in the world.”

Back at the farm, Keeton agrees.

“This is just what they want to do to create those memories,” he said.

And he says those lifelong memories, and some photos to accompany them, are why a cut-your-own live tree can be worth the extra money.

WCPO is a content partner of Cox First Media.

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