How Much Does a Christmas Tree Cost?

Written by: Staff

A Christmas tree has become the most prominent symbol of the holiday season.  Once a Christmas tree is put up, it represents the start of the Christmas season.  These trees can be harvested from a local tree farm, bought from a local store or be purchased artificially.

Christmas trees! by gurdonark, on Flickr
Christmas trees!” (CC BY 2.0) by  gurdonark

How much does a Christmas tree cost?

The cost of a Christmas tree will depend on the type/variety of tree you purchase, where you buy it and the height.  On average, real live Christmas trees can range anywhere from $30 to $150.  Trees purchased from a local retailer, such as Home Depot, can be less than $50, while a local tree farm may charge double this amount or even more if you purchase a taller than average tree.  For example, an 11-foot tree could cost close to $200, while a smaller Fraser fir could cost less than $50.  You may also find some tree farms may charge by the foot, usually $7 to $12 per foot, depending on the variety.

On the other hand, some people prefer to buy an artificial Christmas tree since they can use the same one every year.  Also, artificial trees will be less messy since there are no needles to clean up and the tree does not require water.  An artificial Christmas tree, depending on the type, height and where you purchase it from, can cost anywhere from $99 to as much as $500.  These trees, when compared to a real tree, will have a lifespan of about 10 years.  Big Lots often holds promotions during the Christmas season and trees can be found for as little as $40 to $100 after a coupon is applied.

According to this CBS News article, for instance, the average price was $51 for a live Christmas tree, up 40 percent from 2008.  The article states the cost of one will depend on the condition, variety, and the height.  A Fraser tree, for example, will be slightly higher than the Balsam due to the stronger branches for ornaments.

This forum thread had forum members from the Phoenix area saying they had paid anywhere from $300 for an 11-foot tree to as little as $35 at the local Home Depot.

The National Christmas Tree Association said the average dollar spent in 2015 was $50.82 for a real tree and 76 percent bought a tree pre-cut.

We researched a few of the most popular retailers that sell Christmas trees and were able to come up with the prices in our table below.  These prices were for live trees only.

RetailerAverage Cost
Costco$45 for Noble Fir
Home Depot$25 to $35 for a Douglas Fir, 5 to 7 feet tall.
Lowe's$25 to $35 for a Douglas Fir, 5 to 7 feet tall.
Walmart$30 to $45 for tree in the 5 to 7 foot range. Mostly Douglas Fir.
Whole Foods$60 for Norfolk Pine or $80 for Leyland Cypress

Christmas tree overview

A live Christmas tree, if purchased pre-cut or if you cut it down at the nursery, most will wrap the tree and help strap it to your car for transport.  If you live in a larger city, such as New York City, some tree farms will even deliver it to your location.

Artificial trees usually are separated into multiple pieces and are packaged inside a box.

The most common trees found on a farm will include the Balsam Fir, Black Hills Spruce, Colorado Blue, Douglas Fir, Eastern White Pine, Fraser Fir, Grand Fir, Noble Fir, Norway Spruce, Scotch Pine or White Spruce.  According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the average tree will take seven years to reach its maturity.

The average tree, regardless of the variety, should last about six weeks with enough water.

What are the extra costs?

Decorations, of course, will be an additional cost.  This will include the lights, ornaments, garland, etc.  However, like the tree stand, most artificial trees will have the lights built into the tree.

For live trees, a tree stand will be an extra cost to consider, but some artificial trees may come with a stand.  Refer to the packaging for inclusions.

Tips to know

Dull needles may be an indicator of age or dryness.  When choosing a tree, shake it to see how many needles fall to the ground.  While some needles will fall to the ground, the tree should retain a majority of its needles.

Pay close attention to the needles or bark to see if any pests or insects are present.

Depending on the size and the type of your tree, always make sure your tree has plenty of access to water to stay as healthy as possible.  The average tree can consume as much as one gallon per day, so it’s essential the stand is able to accommodate enough of the trunk when submerged in the water.

How can I save money?

Although artificial trees may be more expensive up front, you will be able to save money by buying an artificial tree since they can be used every year for years to come.  These trees can be placed back in the original packaging and can be cleaned and ready for use whenever the Christmas season arrives.

Purchase lights, decorations or even the tree after Christmas.  Most retailers often mark its Christmas items for up to 90 percent off.

Don’t be afraid to bargain.  Most tree farms and or roadside stands will bring the costs down if you notice a bare spot or an unhealthy area.

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Average Reported Cost: $51

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Reinhold (Phoenix,  Arizona) paid $51 and said:

    4 ft Fraser from the Home Depot = rip off

    Was it worth it? Yes

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