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Demand for real Christmas trees still high despite another price hike this year

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)-- With Thanksgiving officially behind us, some in Milwaukee are already getting into the Christmas spirit and picking out their tree on Black Friday, but they may be surprised to see the prices of those trees are higher this year.

The National Christmas Tree Association says the price of real Christmas trees could go up by about 5-percent or close to $4 this year. In 2018, the average price of a real Christmas trees was $78, in 2017 the average price was $75.

Tree lots in the area say this year it cost more to get trees shipped to them to sell.

“We did bump the price up a little bit just to help at least cover the extra cost of buying them in,” said Paul Budzisz, owner of Tree Men and a Lady in Milwaukee.

Experts say it takes ten years for trees to be harvest ready. Ten years ago during the recession, tree farmers were hesitant to plant Christmas trees.

”We had a very serious recession that affected people’s willingness to shop and purchase things,” said Tim O’Connor, Executive Director of The National Christmas Tree Association.

”Yes they did go up, up to $5 in some areas,” said Budzisz. “It just has to be done.”

The lack of planting a decade ago is what’s now resulting in somewhat of a shortage for sellers and the price hike for buyers.

O’Connor says the price increases will eventually end.

“Well the growers have been getting a strong signal that demand is solid and that investing in growing more trees is a good business proposition,” said O’Connor. “So for the past three to four years, growers have been planting more trees.”

Even with prices of Christmas trees going up the last few years, the demand continues to increase.

”We still come and get one, so nothing’s really stopped us,” said Raphael Ramos, who bought a tree from Budzisz on Friday.

O’Connor says nationally in 2018 there were 5 million more Christmas trees sold than in 2017. Last year, people spent a total of $2 billion on real Christmas trees. O’Connor says even with the price hike, there are enough Christmas trees to supply buyers’ needs.

“Ever since I could get a real tree, I’ve gotten real trees,” said Anthony Tracy, another one of Budzisz’s customers. “I love the real trees.”

“Our busiest time is going to be next weekend,” adds Budzisz. “It’s always generally the first weekend in December.”

Milwaukee families say a small spike in Christmas tree prices isn’t enough to stop them from feeling the magic of having a real Christmas tree in their living room.

”I mean the needles fall off, we vacuum it all up, we water it and all that good stuff, but it’s still enjoyable to have that real tree,” said Ramos.

”It just makes it more of a Merry Christmas,” said Tracy.

With real Christmas tree prices on the rise and a continued high demand, it just goes to show that sometimes you can’t put a price on tradition.

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