November 28, 2017

Why your Christmas tree will probably be more expensive this year

Business Christmas
Christmas Trees Matt Rourke/AP Photo

A man walks among surplus Christmas trees flanking a sidewalk on Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, in Philadelphia.

If you were ever considering not going through the trouble of hauling a giant pine tree into your house for the holiday season, now might be the year to make that call. The price of Christmas trees is likely on the rise.

The National Christmas Tree Association estimates the average price of Christmas trees is going to go up 10 percent this year, according to Time.

Last year, 27.4 million Christmas trees were sold at an average price of $74.70 a tree, according to the association.

One of the reasons for the predicted hike is the 2008 recession. People bought less Christmas tress, and therefore less were cut down, which means fewer were planted the following year. 

Since trees take about nine years to mature, the delayed impact of less trees is finally hitting, and the shortage should drive prices up.

Additionally, diesel fuel prices recently jumped, according to USA Today, meaning higher costs for shipping big truckloads of trees. As of Monday, the average price of a gallon of diesel was $2.84, 46 cents more than last year.

One Pennsylvania lawmaker has tried to make Christmas trees more affordable for families in the state. State Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, has twice introduced legislation that would exempt them from sales tax.

Christmas trees are one of the few agricultural products not exempt from sales tax, Grove said last year when reintroducing the bill. His proposed legislation, co-sponsored by 23 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, would only apply to trees sold at tree farms.

"This bill would produce some savings for families who buy Christmas trees at a time when most are counting pennies to afford presents to sit under those trees,” Grove said in a press release last December.

It's highly unlikely the state legislature, which reconvenes on Dec. 4, will act on the bill in time for Christmas. It's been sitting in the House Finance Committee since March.