From Purists to 'Treecrastinators,' Christmas Tree Sellers Know Their Targets

Whether it’s the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve, holiday-tree-buying habits are often ruled by fierce family traditions. New research from the Real Christmas Tree Board shows those hauling fresh trees into their home fall into six distinct categories, with 39% saying when they buy ole’ Tannenbaum is as much of a household ritual as how they decorate it.

A tiny segment, just 1%, wait until the very last minute, with the purchase of a tree an integral part of their Christmas Eve routine.

At the other extreme are the 14% the trade organization calls “pre-season overachievers,” who scoop up their tree before Thanksgiving, when most tree lots are just setting up shop.

“Black Friday checklisters,” about 33%, typically get the tree during Thanksgiving weekend, making sure they’ll have their pick, with varieties ranging from the aromatic Balsam fir to sturdy little Scotch Pines.



Another 33% of shoppers score theirs the first week in December. "Mid-Decemberists," roughly 16%, buy trees the second week of December, with “Treecrastinators,” or 3%, waiting until the third week.


And 85% of those who bought a real tree last year said they found their dream tree at the first place they shopped.

Regardless of when they buy, people will pay more than they did last year. Newsweek reports that the average price of a Christmas tree is up 10% this year, with most people spending between $80 and $100.

The National Retail Federation polls Americans each year on how much they’ll spend on seasonal décor, including such items as trees, lights and candles. Consumers say they intend to pay $255 this year, roughly the same as last year.

The Real Christmas Tree Board’s research also shows that more people will buy a real tree for the first time this year, thanks to a growing number of Gen Z and millennial shoppers settling into new holiday traditions. Of Gen Z buyers, 26% are real-tree newbies, compared to 25% of millennials and 13% of Gen X-ers.

Among the appeals? Real tree buyers rank the scent as a key part of the charm, as well as the family experience of choosing a tree. The industry group also promotes real trees as more sustainable. “You’re not throwing it out,” it says. “You’re putting it back.”

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