Real or fake, what to get
Evergreen trees have been a symbol of Christmas for nearly six hundred years when merchants in Latvia decorated trees in the town square for the holiday. They also danced around them and set them on fire, so needless to say, traditions have changed. What hasn’t changed is the desire to decorate a tree, real or fake, to get families in the holiday spirit.
But how much are families paying for that part of the holiday spirit?
The price of Christmas trees is rising, indicating the industry is finally recovering from the Great Recession of 2008, which thrust it into a decade-long slump.
The National Christmas Tree Association survey conducted by Nielsen/Harris found that the average price about 2,000 respondents paid for a real tree in 2017 increased to $75, up 30 cents from the previous year's price tag. This year, prices have rose again, maybe as much as 5 to 10 percent in some areas, NCTA spokesman Doug Hundley said.
The national average for a real tree at six feet is just under $59. New Yorkers are by far paying the most at $90. People in North Dakota pay the least at just $33 on average. Indiana residents are paying the 9th highest price in the nation at a average of $68, while Kentucky residents pay a average of $58.
Rising prices helps explain why some consumers are buying artificial trees instead of the real deal. Results from the annual NCTA poll show that while 27.4 million trees were sold in 2016 and again in 2017, their fake counterparts saw sales in 2017 tick upwards from 18.6 million to 21.1 million.
The average price of fake trees is also rising, but they usually last between five and 10 Christmas seasons. In 2016, the average price for an artificial tree was $98.70, according to NCTA data. The following year, the price went up to $107 on average.