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Pandemic sparks boom in Christmas tree sales in 2020

Trees still available amid burgeoning sales
APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Germany
Posted at 6:33 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 20:33:13-05

As many people started decorating early, it's likely 2020 is a "boom" year for Christmas tree sales. Some even bought a "real" tree for the first time.

In July, Bob Schaefer had a feeling it was going to be a big year for Christmas tree sales. The general manager of Oregon-based Noble Mountain Tree Farm says his company looks at the big holidays leading up to the Christmas season to get an idea of what the market will be like.

“The next thing we watch is pumpkins - again, off the charts, early,” Schaefer said.

Noble Mountain is a large tree producer, and it has been in the Christmas business since 1969. It now sells about half a million trees a year. Schaefer says it developed helicopter harvesting and can have your tree cut and shipped in 24 hours.

“This year, we shipped to Dubai, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico and of course the US,” Schaefer said.

Christmas trees are a 10-year crop and once a farm has harvested those trees that are mature and ready, that's it for the tree.

“Our sales were off the charts and we did sell out,” Schaefer said. “We’re wholesalers, we don’t sell to individual customers, but our wholesale sales were done by the first of October. Our trees were committed for sale."

Schaefer said people started decorating the weekend after Halloween, leading to thriving initial sales.

“If it turns out that COVID has people staying home and they have in their hearts the need for a lot of Christmas cheer, then we can provide that with a real tree,” Doug Hundley, spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association, said.

He said if you don't have your tree yet, don't worry. They won't sell out.

"We’ve never had a shortage. What we have now is a nice balanced, tight market between supply and demand,” Hundley said.

It's no easy feat to predict the market, in fact, it's next to impossible, he said.

“When we have a boom year like we may be having right now, we kind of suspected it, but we didn’t anticipate it and we can’t produce a real tree overnight,” Hundley said. “So, we have to provide what we have and hope it’ll work out.”

He said if lots are empty, it's because the major tree weekends have passed.

Ninety percent of people have already gotten their tree this year. Hundley says what's left will suffice for those who still need one. He hopes they all sell. If they don't, they're rendered useless.

“The beauty of real trees over fake is we have a highly biodegradable product, it’s grown naturally, part of nature, benefits the environment supports the American economy and when we’re done, we can grind them so easily and chip them into mulch,” Hundley said. “They literally become soil in a couple of years, put back in the ground.”

If you are purchasing a natural Christmas tree, experts recommend not adding additives. All your tree needs is plain water at any temperature.