Good tidings and great joy are in store for those wishing for a real Christmas tree this year. Pickings should be plentiful and prices are holding mostly steady, experts say.

With inflation affecting nearly all consumer goods in recent years, tree prices have been no exception. Growers across the country have faced rising costs to run their farms, which has trickled down to consumers.

Last year, the average price paid for a real Christmas tree rang in at about $80, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. In 2021, the average was $70, and five years ago, it was $66.

Owner Calder Johnson shows a tree to the Sheidler family at his Trees For Tuition lot in Virginia-Highland on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023.  (Steve Schaefer/

Credit: Steve Schaefer

icon to expand image

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Still, “all kinds of people love and put up real Christmas trees,” said Marsha Gray, executive director of the Real Christmas Tree Board, a Michigan nonprofit representing tree producers and retailers. And the rising costs haven’t hampered demand.

The good news this year is that prices appear to be closer to reaching a plateau, according to the board’s annual survey of Christmas tree growers who supply more than two-thirds of the country’s real tree market. While growers have seen continued rising costs, it hasn’t been as much as last year, the survey found. As a result, many are choosing to absorb most of the extra cost rather than pass it along to retailers, according to the report.

More than a quarter of growers said they don’t expect to increase prices at all this year. Another quarter reported having to raise prices by no more than 15%. That’s compared to last year, when 71% of growers reported the same thing.

Florist Mike Whittle, of K. Mike Whittle Designs Inc. in Marietta, said he has noticed the same trend locally. Prices are still high, he said, but not much higher than last year, if at all.

Regardless, the cost hasn’t dissuaded buyers. In a survey of consumers, 57% said they expect to spend about the same as they did last year and 38% thought they’d spend more.

Owners Jack Faught (Left) and Calder Johnson talk during a slow moment at their Trees For Tuition Christmas tree lot in Virginia Highland on Saturday, November 25, 2023. (Steve Schaefer/

Credit: Steve Schaefer

icon to expand image

Credit: Steve Schaefer

That has been the case for Kellie Van Leuvan, who has been buying real Christmas trees for the past 20 years. She and her daughter Kayden were at the Trees for Tuition lot in Virginia-Highland to pick out a tree on Saturday, and they said a real tree just ushers in more of a Christmas spirit.

“It’s better to go out and shop than to just pull one out of the attic,” Kayden Van Leuvan said. “I think it’s just more festive.”

“It comes with the smell and brings a piece of nature into the house for a while,” Kellie Van Leuvan added.

Nick Anthony secures a Christmas tree to a customer's car at the Trees For Tuition lot in Virginia-Highland
 on Saturday, November 25, 2023. (Steve Schaefer/

Credit: Steve Schaefer

icon to expand image

Credit: Steve Schaefer

That same sentiment was reflected in the Christmas tree board’s survey.

“Fans of real Christmas trees consistently tell us they’re ‘worth it,’” Gray said in the report. “In fact, 83% of those who typically buy a real Christmas tree said they agree with that exact phrase to describe their thoughts on the price of real Christmas trees.”

As with the Van Leuvans, it’s the scent that makes having a real Christmas tree worth having for many. Nearly all survey respondents said the scent brings them joy, and they want their families to experience that same happiness.

That same sentiment is echoed by Whittle’s clients, he said. The ones who want real Christmas trees want real ones no matter the cost.

“The fragrance — it’s tradition for them,” he said. “They just love the real tree, and to them, that’s what makes Christmas.”

In contrast to 2021′s supply chain issues that caused tightened supply both in Atlanta and across the country, there should be enough trees to go around this year. In fact, 85% of consumers said they found the tree they wanted at the first place they shopped last year, and the board expects this year to be the same.

Larger trees — think eight- and nine-footers or taller — are still not as plentiful. That’s because fewer trees were planted during the Great Recession, which means that fewer trees have had enough time to grow that tall. But not as many people want or can accommodate larger trees in general.

“The real Christmas tree industry consistently meets demand,” Gray said. “This year, two-thirds of the wholesale growers surveyed told us they expect to sell all the trees they plan to harvest. And that’s how we, retailers, and consumers like it.”

But what about the environmental impact? Well, it turns out that real Christmas trees are actually better, according to experts.

Growing real trees doesn’t produce the carbon emissions that it takes to produce and transport artificial ones. And, they can be recycled into mulch or other environmentally friendly uses. Even if they’re not repurposed, a real tree will simply decompose back into the earth, fertilizing the land for other plants. Harvesting trees also supports healthy forest management, according to The Nature Conservancy.

So go ahead and indulge in the joys of that cozy classic Christmas tree aroma.