Americans keep tradition alive, real Christmas Tree sales remain strong despite soaring inflation

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Millions of families are starting to deck the halls for the holidays. Even though inflation has driven up prices, Christmas tree demand is high. 

People are choosing to bring home a real tree this year for different reasons. 

Sandra Serna said she stopped buying fake Christmas tree’s several years ago. Coming to shop at Richardson Christmas Tree Farm in McHenry County, Illinois has become a family tradition.

“It was too heavy and the lights died. So I came back to the real tree,” Serna said. 

Brittany and John Atchison also came to shop at Richardson Christmas Tree Farm. The couple explained why they decided to buy a real Christmas tree this year for the first time. 

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“I got tired of pulling the fake Christmas Tree out with the lights already attached to it. I wanted to do it the old-school way. We are actually expecting, and we are excited about our new baby but wanted to start a new family tradition,” John Atchison said. 

Other shoppers said they’ve been coming to Richardson’s Christmas Tree farm for decades. The farm is just south of the Wisconsin border. Wisconsin is one of the top 5 states in the United States that grows Christmas trees, according to the Real Christmas Tree Board in Howell, Michigan, which conducts marketing and research for the industry.

A survey of 55 of the nation’s largest Christmas tree wholesalers indicated virtually all of them intended to raise prices, with most wholesale cost increases in the 5% to 15% range — but with some increases reaching 21% or more, according to the Real Christmas Tree Board.

Christmas Tree Demand

Marsha Gray is the Executive Director of the Real Christmas Tree Board. 

“So, Pacific Northwest, Oregon, then you go to the mountains of North Carolina, it’s starting to move up into Virginia as well. and then that upper Great Lakes, Michigan, Wisconsin, “Gray said.

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Farmers in Illinois and Wisconsin say it can take up to 10 years to grow a tree and the weather can be a wild card each year. George Richardson is the Co-Owner of Richardson Christmas Tree Farm and said they have been selling Christmas Tree’s for more than three decades. The farm also offers hot chocolate and a gift shop to Christmas Tree shoppers.

“On our farm this year we planted 13 thousand seedlings. They are about 14 to 20 inches tall when we plant them in our fields and I lost probably about 40 to 50 percent of those seedlings this year because of this drought,” Richardson said. 

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Christmas Tree Farm Prices

Richardson said it can also take around 10 years to grow a tree. In addition to weather setbacks, Richardson said the cost of labor, fertilizer, and fuel went up this year, driving the price of an average tree to $90— up $10 from last year. 

Nico Lopez shopped at Richardson Christmas Tree Farm this year and said it is a tradition for his family to get a real tree each year. This year they purchased three tree’s for different households in the family.  Richardson said he is excited to set up another tree in his home this year. 

Real Christmas Tree Customers

“I enjoy it because it brings life to the whole family, instead of just like getting it from the basement,” Lopez said.

The National Christmas Tree association says other areas may have a tight supply of trees again this year. Farmers tend to borrow trees from other states from time to time, so it’s important to check your nearest tree farm to see if they have the tree in stock you are searching for.

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