Communities across the nation are seeing a rise in Christmas tree prices as growers feel the impacts of a tighter supply due to the economic downturn of 2008, shifting consumer preferences and a changing climate.
However, some areas of the country are known for doling out more green than others for the holiday staple. What people pay for the cheer differs across the country, according to a Chamber of Commerce study that determined the price of a 6-foot Christmas tree,
The 2018 study indicated the average national cost for a 6-foot real tree was $59, but New York shoppers paid the most at $90. California was second on the list with an average price of $83 followed by Colorado at $79. In comparison, North Dakota was listed as paying the least for a 6-foot tree with residents paying an average of $33.
However, it's no surprise that New York, which is home to high-income taxes coupled with some of the country's least affordable housing, sees some extreme price points for these holiday focal points.
New York City vendor Soho Trees sold a 20-foot Fraser fir this holiday season for $6,500. But Scott Lechner, sales manager of Soho Trees, told FOX Business the seemingly steep price comes with quite the package of bells and whistles. The Fraser fir includes four decorators, a day and a half of labor, nine thousand LED lights, ornaments, a custom-made skirt and tree topper and delivery.
During the economic downturn in 2008, people cut back discretionary spending and Christmas tree farms were one of the industries that took a hit, executive director of the National Christmas Tree Association Tim O’Connor said in 2018.
Trees, especially larger ones, take a while to grow. Farmers plant a tree one year, then take care of it for many more years, and don’t get a return on it for about a decade. In 2008, farmers had to weigh the costs of planting and maintaining against the distant idea of getting a profit, O’Connor said, “so it was a challenging time.”
In addition, O’Connor noted that many in the Baby Boomer generation, after sending kids off on their own, switched to artificial trees for convenience.
Farmers were also faced with extreme weather conditions in 2012, 2014 and spring floods in 2019 that took a toll on the plantings, "particularly young saplings," according to The Conversation.
"[S]upply is more in line with demand and demand is growing," O’Connor told Fortune. "So there are buyers competing to purchase trees, and that's pushing prices up a bit."
New York City tree vendor Heather Neville, who bills herself the "NYC tree lady," told The New York Post her Fraser prices increased by 20 percent this year to $850. But the price reaches closer to $1,300 with delivery, installation, stand and tip included.
In 2018, 32.8 million live evergreen trees were purchased for $78, which was a 4 percent increase from the roughly $75 price tag in 2017, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.