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Christmas trees may be harder to find and more expensive this year

Christmas Tree
Posted at 5:09 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 19:33:31-05

PHOENIX — Whether you prefer a real Christmas tree or an artificial one, a shortage in supply or a rise in price can be attributed to a major American event more than a decade ago.

According to the American Association of Christmas Trees, when it comes to pricing across the country, a fake tree costs on average $104 and a real one averages about $78. However, a quality fake tree can last a decade, maybe longer.

"We didn’t have a price increase, wholesale or retail, for 20 years. It’s just these last 4-5 years the prices have caught up with inflation," said Doug Hundley, a spokesperson with the National Christmas Tree Association. "We’re selling as many Christmas trees this year as we ever have."

Hundley said this year's Christmas tree supply is not low but is tighter than previous years. One of the main reasons there isn't an overabundance of trees is due to the 2008 recession when Christmas tree supply was high, but demand was low. In turn, the seeding of trees was scaled back for a handful of years, and since the growth cycle of a fir tree before it's cut for the holidays is 10-12 years, meaning the real tree in your home could have been planted during the recession.

If you are having trouble finding a large Christmas tree in Arizona, the sun may be to blame. The Pacific Northwest, where Arizona gets most of its fir trees, experienced a heatwave this year, damaging many of the large fir trees. Some trees were unable to be cut down and sold and might need another year to heal.

Experts say when it comes to buying a real or artificial tree, don't wait for supply to be overtaken by demand. And at the end of the day, the most important tree is the one that suits your family's tradition.

"It's new beginning, it’s new hope," said Anna Marie, who was buying a Christmas tree with her husband, Terrance, at Moon Valley Nurseries. "There’s nothing like it during the Christmas season. It makes the house smell so wonderful."

"The real tree has been the family tree for 79 years," said Terrance.

Moon Valley Nurseries said there is a plentiful supply of real trees this year at their various locations, and the only impact they've incurred is when it comes to larger fir trees damaged by heat.