“It’s been creeping up for the last 2 or 3 years”: Christmas trees costing more this year

Christmas tree growers said the issue has been in the making for 14 years, now made worse by inflation.
The price of a live Christmas tree is about 10-15 percent more expensive than it was one year ago.
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 6:51 PM EST
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HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - If you’re in search of a real Christmas tree this holiday season, you may be in for a rude awakening at your local tree lot, as it will cost you more this year.

Christmas tree growers said the issue has been in the making for 14 years, and is now feeling the ripple effect left by the pandemic and rising inflation.

Christmas trees will cost 10-15 percent more this year, according to NC State’s College of Natural Resources, ranging between $65-250 this year, with some selling for even higher.

“It’s been creeping up for the last 2 or 3 years, and what we’re seeing you’ve got the, of course we’ll call it the inflation cost that everybody is seeing,” Kevin Pressley, the owner of the Darrell Simpson Family Christmas Tree Lot, said.

Other local lot owners share similar thoughts.

“Fuel has more than doubled so that has caused an impact across the board on everything and not only fuel, you have labor costs involved,” Davie Woodie, the owner of Woodie Tree Farms, added.

Not only are tree lots dealing with price increases, but they’re also having to manage supply-chain issues, staffing issues and a low supply of trees available for harvesting.

Compared to this time last year, the Woodie Farms Christmas tree lot has 25 percent fewer trees, and it will be sold out this weekend, weeks before Christmas.

“This is a trickledown effect that really begin in 2008 when we had the stock market crash,” Woodie said.

The lag in trees being planted over a decade ago is contributing to the current problem.

“We had a lot of the growers at that point that we were experiencing what we’re experiencing now has actually stopped growing trees or cut their production,” Pressley said. “So we’re seeing that shortage, the wave of that shortage taking place right now.”

Despite the higher cost, it’s not changing the mind of some customers.

“Honestly, it feels like it’s kind of the norm, everything just happens to be more expensive and we have to live through that,” buyer Michael Leal said.

Tree farmers said there’s relief in the future as more trees will be mature and available to harvest next year, although some of the cost will be dependent on fuel prices decreasing as well.

Related: “Whatever I got you last year, cut that in half”: Inflation changing spending this holiday season