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Christmas tree prices have some consumers on pins and needles

WRIC - ABC 8News
WRIC - ABC 8News
 2022-11-30

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Christmas holiday is almost here, and people are already running out to pick their perfect tree. This comes as inflation is impacting the cost of just about everything these days, even the cost of the holiday season’s centerpiece.  8News got some insight from a local tree seller about what’s behind the Christmas tree price tag.

The prices for fir trees, often known as the standard Christmas tree, have gone up anywhere from 15% to 20% according to Mike McLaughlin, who owns the Azalea Garden Center in Henrico County. McLaughlin says this price change is largely due to transportation costs. But despite this increase, he is trying to keep his prices relatively the same for his customers.

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“The transportation charges to get the trees to any location really has gone up 20 to 25 percent, in some places even more,” McLaughlin said. “We cut it short. We didn’t add on what we should have, trying to keep our prices in line with what we had last year.”

While the price of firs and other materials has gone up, McLaughlin says he was ready ahead of time.

“When you order your trees, you get an idea of what’s going on in the market,” McLaughlin said. “We place our order in April, and everything was going up at that point.”

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Even with the increase in prices, that’s not slowing down McLaughlin.  This year he has ordered 850 trees in comparison to last year’s 770.  Last year, McLaughlin sold out of trees by Dec. 4. This year he anticipates having no trees left before mid-December.

“You have to gamble, and we do the best we can to have trees for our customers,” McLaughlin said. “I feel bad when I run out of trees, and some of my customers come in and they want a tree, and we don’t have it. So we ordered more.”

In total, anywhere between 25 million and 30 million real Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S., according to the National Christmas Tree Association .

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