Fear of recession may have put a dent in some retail sales this holiday season, but Americans won’t do without a Christmas tree.
That’s the word from the Milwaukee-based National Christmas Tree Assn., which expects to wrap up a 5% jump in sales to 36 million trees this season.
“We’re hearing great reports” on tree sales, association spokeswoman Jean Weiss said. “The holidays usually aren’t affected by any recession when it comes to Christmas trees.”
Weiss said that although a few areas may have seen slightly lower prices for Christmas trees this season, nationwide prices have remained stable for the past few years at $3.25 to $5.25 a foot.
The Scotch pine has been the most popular Christmas tree the past several years, followed by the Douglas fir. But Weiss says most people usually choose a tree based on family tradition.
The tradition of having a family tree may be helping to keep sales of live trees up as baby boomers raise their children, according to Weiss.
“The 1990s are going to be the decade of the family, and going out and picking out a tree is a real family occasion,” she said. “You don’t get that feeling when you crawl up to the attic and get out the artificial tree.”
Another area of growth for tree growers is mail order. Weiss said that in the past couple of years mail-order trees have become increasingly popular with such major mail houses as L. L. Bean and Hammacher Schlemmer.
“What’s great about catalogue trees is that trees shipped by mail are usually very fresh trees,” Weiss said. “They’re often cut the same day they’re shipped.