EAST AMHERST, N.Y. — With the year wrapping up and the holiday season upon us, the focus now turns to the center of it all — the Christmas tree.
But finding the perfect one this year may not be so simple.
Western New York tree lots like Badding Bros. are seeing the effects of a 10% nationwide increase in tree prices, with the average tree now coming with an $80 price tag — up $10 from last year.
“There's definitely an increase this year,” said Michael Badding, owner of Badding Bros Farm Market and Garden Center. “I think they've been steadily increasing over the last few years.”
That’s because, unlike Santa’s gifts, new trees can’t appear overnight, especially as tree lots fight a six-year nationwide tree shortage and fuel costs reaching 40-year highs due to inflation.
But according to experts, just because it’s costing more doesn’t mean folks want to take the tree down.
“If you talk to consumers, they're not willing to compromise on their Christmas tree spending,” said Charles Lindsey, University at Buffalo associate Professor School of Management.
“Especially this year, it's been a rough couple of years, and they want to have it all.”
But if you haven’t hit the lot yet and don't want it to come at the expense of those presents, have no fear.
Because as Badding says, there are solutions such as setting your expectations a little shorter and buying a smaller tree or buying as early as possible before supplies run out.
“If you have a live tree in the house, it's still gonna smell great,” Badding said. “It's still going to look great. It just may be a little shorter than you're used to.”