LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There are fewer Christmas trees this year than previous years, but people still want them. That’s the state of the Christmas tree industry right now.
“It’s the smell and it’s a tradition," said Justin Pituia at a Christmas tree lot in southwest Las Vegas. "So every year, this is something that we do.”
He’s looking for his ideal tree and is prepared to spend the money.
“It’s pricey, but we set aside a budget every year and how much we’re going to spend on a tree,” Pituia said.
That’s the reality for many people across the country.
The National Christmas Tree Association says the average price of a real tree soared to $78 last year.
And it credits a limited supply of trees.
The association says it can take up to 15 years to grow a tree around 6-7 feet tall, and the average growing time for a Christmas tree is 7 years. During the Great Recession of the late 2000s, however, not as many trees were planted.
Now, we're starting to see the impact of the smaller harvest reflected in the price of Christmas trees.
Although supply is lower than previous years, the demand is still there. A record 33 million trees were sold in 2018.
“I’ve heard from a number of our members that they’re sales were up compared to prior years and we think 2019 is off to a great start,” said Tim O’Connor, executive director of the National Christmas Tree Association.
The association says the demand has remained high with more families wanting to capture the Christmas spirit at home.
“That’s such huge part in that families want that experience and want to take a lot of photos and post them on social media,” O’Connor said.
If the price is too steep at the lots, you can cut your own Christmas tree by getting a permit for $4 and driving two-and-a-half hours to Lincoln County.
“Once you settle in and the smell permeates through, you can’t beat that,” Pituia said.