You're Not Dreaming, Christmas Trees Really Do Cost More This Year

by Madison Vanderberg
Dan Reynolds Photography/Getty

Due to a conflation of pandemic-related reasons, Christmas trees are significantly more expensive this year

As the pandemic rages on and the CDC is strongly advising Americans to cancel their holiday travel plans this year, everyone is looking for ways to pass the time at home and apparently, this year, everyone is buying so many Christmas trees and way earlier than usual.

Desperate for any amount of holiday cheer since malls are COVID-19 hot zones and travel is off the table, people are buying up Christmas trees like they’re going out of style and yes, you’re not imagining things, Christmas trees are more expensive this year.

There is a huge demand for trees this year and some people are even heading to tree farms where they can cut down their own tree. The National Christmas Tree Association tells USA Today that not only are people looking for cheer this holiday season, but outdoor tree lots feel like a safer activity during the pandemic. The National Retail Federation (via Bloomberg News) also reports that due to the homebound nature of the pandemic, people are way more interested in spending their money on holiday decorations and seasonal items this year so they can enjoy some cheer and beauty safely at home.

But the rising costs are not just because of pandemic demand, actually. Bloomberg News reports that many things are at fault like closed borders with Canada, Christmas tree lot workers calling out sick due to COVID, and the high demand for shipping and online orders during the pandemic has driven up the costs to rent freight trucks making it more expensive for tree lot owners to ship in trees.

All of this amounts to more expensive trees and the National Christmas Tree Association also told Bloomberg that “the median price for real trees sold in 2020 is expected to be about $81, up 7% from last year and 23% from 2018.” So yes, those price tags you’re seeing this year aren’t just specific to your area, real trees are more expensive everywhere.

Also, Christmas trees have steadily gotten more expensive over the years as Doug Hundley, a spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association, tells USA Today that fewer trees were planted after the Great Recession and since those trees take about 8 to 10 years to reach maturity, that means fewer trees now.

Anecdotally, the guy at my local tree lot wanted to sell me a five-foot Balsam Fir (those “sparse” Charlie Brown trees that are trending this year) for $110 and said the exorbitant cost was due to the fact that those trees only grow on the edge of a cliff in Oregon, or something, and I’m paying for the man-power to climb up those trees, apparently. Anyway, I went for a much more moderately priced Douglas Fir. Merry 2020 Christmas y’all. There’s a global pandemic and Christmas trees are too damn expensive. Whew, what a year.