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If you haven’t yet bought a Christmas tree, buyer beware: You might have to pay more than you expect this year.
There is a tree shortage across parts of North America. And believe it or not, it’s tied to the Great Recession.
Back in 2008, hard economic times forced many families to skip the annual tradition of buying a tree. Growers noticed, and cut down fewer trees to sell, according to the New York Times.
The move made business sense in the short term. But it had a downside. According to the Times, the change resulted in “less space to plant replacements and, ultimately, a smaller-than-usual batch of seedlings.”
Many farmers have turned away from growing trees in recent years. According to the Wall Street Journal, some farmers in Oregon — which accounts for 37 percent of the nation’s Christmas-tree production — have turned to growing grapes or cannabis instead.
Fast-forward to today. With the economy growing ever stronger, the demand for trees has jumped. Fewer trees and increased demand means higher prices. In fact, average tree prices jumped from $36.50 in 2008 to $74.70 last year, the Times reports.
Prices are expected to be even higher in 2017, especially in places far away from Oregon and North Carolina, the two biggest states for Christmas-tree production. According to the Journal, prices are expected to be especially high in Florida, Illinois and Arizona.
However, you don’t have to let today’s soaring Christmas tree prices sap your holiday spirit. Here are some tips for getting a tree at a good price.
Cut down your own Christmas tree
If you live near a forest, you might be able to trek into the woods and cut down your own tree for a song. You’ll need to pay for a permit, but the tree itself is free.
This can save you a bundle. For example, a permit is just $10 for two trees in Colorado’s Pike and San Isabel national forests. Check out the U.S. Forest Service website to find a place where you can cut down a tree.
Look for a wholesale dealer
You might save money by skipping the middleman and buying directly from a tree wholesaler. Not every dealer will sell to individual customers, but others will.
To find a list of wholesale dealers in your state, check out the Christmas Tree Farm Network’s list of wholesale farms.
Call around for the best Christmas tree deal
As with any type of shopping, calling around to various businesses and comparing prices is a great way to get a good price.
Stop by the National Christmas Tree Association website and use its Find a Tree tool to pull up tree farms in your area. Then, start dialing around for the best deal.
Buy an artificial Christmas tree
Finally, buying an artificial tree is a great way to save over the long haul. Prices can range from dirt cheap to ultra-expensive. But ultimately, you’ll save a lot of money, as this is a one-time purchase than can be used again and again in coming years.
Stop by Amazon to look over a selection of artificial trees.
For more on saving during the holidays, check out our 2017 holiday shopping season page.
Do you have additional tips for saving on a Christmas tree purchase? Share them in the comments below or on our Facebook page.