Buying a Christmas tree might be more expensive this year, thanks to inflation.
A September study from the Real Christmas Tree Board, an organization that represents all of the natural Christmas trees sold in the U.S., found that the cost of growing the trees increased nearly 20% in comparison to last year.
The study, a first for the board, was conducted to assess how inflation impacted production and wholesale costs for the decorative item.
Marsha Gray, the executive director for the Real Christmas Tree Board, said the cost of fertilizer, fuel and labor had been some of the driving forces behind the growing costs.
The study found that 71% of growers are expected to raise their wholesale prices by as much as 15%.
For consumers, this means that retailers will charge more for the product.
“If the agricultural community is facing higher expenses, whether it’s a food product or a Christmas tree, it’s going to affect the price of the product in the end,” Gray said.
Since every store has different inventory and financial goals, it’s hard to categorize what percentage of the wholesale cost will be passed on to shoppers, Gray said.
According to the executive director, the Real Christmas Tree Board doesn’t control the retail price of a tree; individual shops decide that.
To save money this holiday season, Gray recommends that shoppers research the type of tree they want before going to the store.
“Do a little bit of homework about the places you are going to shop at; almost every retail location is online somewhere, rather it’s a big store or a Boy Scout lot,” Gray said. “They will list their pricing, price ranges or the different species available.”
Different tree species, like the noble fir or Fraser fir, can be more expensive than a Douglas fir tree due to their popularity.
Gray also wants consumers to keep in mind that the height and species of a tree will add to the overall cost, so getting a shorter or more common tree species can help bring the price down.
Gray also wants shoppers to remember that a tree’s height will increase once it’s in a stand, so buying a tall tree isn’t always the best decision.
“Don’t buy a bigger tree than you need,” Gray said. “You may not need to buy a 7-foot tree. A 6 ½ one may be just fine for you.”
Purchasing fake trees can be a viable option for certain families looking to save money long-term since they are reusable.