Buyers of real Christmas trees paid on average $75 for their Christmas trees last year, up from $35 in 2013, according a survey commissioned by the National Christmas Tree Association, and spokesperson Doug Hundley says that wholesalers are reporting prices $80 or higher this season.
Why prices have more than doubled: Hundley blames the great recession for limiting the industry's capacity to harvest enough trees to keep prices from rising steeply. Because it takes a Christmas tree about ten years to grow harvestable, the drop off in demand between 2007 and 2009 meant that growers did not have the revenue or available space on their farms to plant the trees that are being bought today.
One caveat: Hundley points out that the National Christmas Tree Association survey asks respondents how much they paid for their Christmas tree, but not about its size. It's possible that some of this increase in spending is due to shoppers opting for bigger or better-quality trees, especially as the economic recovery shifted into higher gear over the past year.
Blame inflation: In a note to clients, Deutsche Bank's Torsten Sløk said Christmas tree prices could reflect general inflation just as much as the idiosyncrasies of evergreen farming.