Whether it’s real or artificial, the cost of your Christmas tree could go up this year.
“Like all areas of agriculture, real Christmas tree reproduction, the costs are up,” said Marsha Gray, the executive director of the Real Christmas Tree Board. The organization represents companies that produce real Christmas trees grown in the U.S., and those that are imported.
Gray said input costs for these companies are up 11 to 20 percent. This includes things like fuel, fertilizer, and labor. The wholesale price of a tree will go up 5 to 15 percent, according to a survey of wholesalers by the Real Christmas Tree Board. That doesn’t necessarily mean that cost will be passed on to the consumer.
“Some of those costs are probably absorbing, but a certain amount of it they are passing on to those retailers who then, in turn, need to decide what retail price they’re going to charge,” she said.
According to a survey by the Real Christmas Tree Board, consumers expect inflation to impact real Christmas tree costs by approximately $4 to $12 per tree compared to last year.
“Prices, of course, to move everything are up, so that's one of those things that we consider an input cost but we’re really not expecting any real supply chain problems,” Gray said.
She explained that supply shouldn’t be an issue this year.
“We do have a tighter supply and have had a tighter supply for about 5 to 7 years. Not a big surprise because it takes us 10 years to produce that tree and turn it around. We can't change on a dime,” she said.
What about artificial trees? Last year, the industry was disrupted by supply chain problems.
“Last year, in 2021, the artificial Christmas tree industry had a really tough time because, with the supply chain delays, still many of us got our product late. At Balsam Hill we had 500 containers of Christmas trees and holiday decor come after Christmas,” said Mac Harman, the founder and CEO of Balsam Hill.
During the last holiday season, stores and companies didn’t have enough goods. Harman said for this year’s supply, companies put in orders for less stock. However, this was all purchased during a time when international cargo freight prices were at a high, which could be reflected in the prices consumers see this season.
Experts are still waiting to see if there will be a shortage of artificial trees this year. For now, stores have the stock they need, but prices could fluctuate, according to Harman.
There are some ways you can save regardless.
“Any time you're looking for an artificial Christmas tree, you want to shop early, especially this year,” said Harman. “What we’re seeing this year is that consumers are shopping later for their artificial Christmas trees and their holiday decor.”
Balsam Hill estimates people keep artificial trees for about 10 years.
The turbulence we’ve seen in pricing and supply is more likely to level out next year. “We expect that prices will come down next year because the supply chain costs are down and also raw material costs are down. But everything that was purchased this year was purchased so long ago, prices are up,” Harman said.
If you are purchasing a real Christmas tree, know specific details about height and species before you go pick one out. “Make sure you measure ahead,” Gray said.
She said most tree sellers have websites where you can see what they have and pricing beforehand.