By Kelli B. Grant
New York, NY (December 15, 2009)- Shoppers cutting back this holiday season can trim a Christmas tree and their budget in one evening. Christmas tree sales have bounced back this year with broader holiday spending. In the two weeks after Thanksgiving, sales of Christmas trees were up 6.5% and 3%, respectively, over the comparable weeks in the prior year, according to a survey of Christmas tree sellers by the market research firm ISI Group. (In 2008, real tree sales for the entire season dropped 10% and artificial tree sales fell 35%, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, an industry group.)
Real or artificial, it’s easy to spend more than $100 on a tree, depending on the size and variety you want. But there are plenty of ways to save as much as 50% – even with only a few shopping days left. “The closer it gets to Christmas, the more sellers cut prices,” says Heather Wagenhals, the founder of Unlock Your Wealth Foundation, a coaching group in Scottsdale, Ariz.
There’s no need to settle for the scrawniest tree on the lot, either. Here’s how to score a Christmas tree for less:
Get a live tree. If you’ve decided to buy a real tree, go a step further and get a live tree (one that has the roots intact) instead of one that’s been cut. Prices are usually just a quarter of those for a cut tree, as little as $15, says Amelia Baker, owner of Green Alternatives, an eco-friendly general store in Norfolk, Va. The trade off: live trees tend to max out at 5 feet to 6 feet tall, with most in the 3 feet to 4 feet range.
Live trees can also save you money after the holidays. Planted strategically in your yard, they can cut annual energy bills by up to 25%, according to the Department of Energy. (For more, click here.) Apartment dwellers may be able to donate the tree to a local parks department or tree-planting group for a tax deduction. (Check with community organizations via the Alliance for Community Trees list here.)
Wall Street Journal- How to Trim Christmas Tree Costs