Money & Business

Why Are Natural Christmas Trees So Expensive This Year?

By / Dec 6, 2017 (ChickiBam/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, effects from the recession are causing Christmas tree prices to surge. What recession? The one that happened in 2008. Here’s why.

If you’re in the market for a Christmas tree this year, you’re going to be running into the effects of an economic quirk that’ll make the purchase a bit more expensive than it might have been otherwise.

The reason for that, according to Today, is because of recession conditions that started a decade ago. The National Christmas Tree Association told the news outlet that the lower demand for Christmas trees in 2007 and 2008 had the effect of lowering the prices back then, but also preventing replacement trees from being planted at the time.

The Wall Street Journal notes that between 2002 and 2012, the total acreage dedicated to Christmas tree production declined by 30 percent. And that means prices are headed toward all-time highs. Last year, the average amount spent on a live Christmas tree was $74.70, more than double the price of five years earlier.

Now, as a result, there are fewer trees available, and the ones that are available cost as much as 10 percent more than they would have otherwise.

“Surprising to most, it takes Christmas tree growers about 10 years to grow a 7-8 foot Christmas tree,” NCTA spokesman Doug Hundley explained in a statement to Today. “In 2007, we were in the beginning of the ‘Great Recession.’ Christmas tree sales started a downward turn and so did tree prices.”

The association, in comments to various news outlets, has been careful not to claim that there’s a shortage, though it’s been a claim made by a number of outlets in recent weeks, including the Journal.

“The National Christmas Tree Association is confident that everyone looking for a real Christmas tree this year will have no problem finding the one that their family and children will love,” the association told Today. “However, we do have a tight market this year.”

For its part, the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents artificial tree makers, has taken advantage of the attention the story has gotten. On its Facebook page over the weekend, ACTA published a post claiming that “there’s a Christmas tree out there for everyone”—an artificial one.

“There is no shortage of Christmas tree options for consumers,” ACTA Executive Director Jami Warner said in the release. “Just look at the inventory of choices at any of the larger retailers, for instance, which are filled with beautiful realistic and colorful Christmas trees in all sizes, shapes, colors, and price points.”

In the past, stories have implied a long-running turf war between the groups representing artificial and natural Christmas trees, though ACTA emphasizes no hard feelings.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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