Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How to Save Money on a Fresh Christmas Tree

"Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, where are you?
We're lost in the woods and so are you."
-song made-up by daughter when family became lost on a Colorado mountain while searching for a tree.

Last weekend I saw a few Christmas trees tried to the top of cars as we were out shopping. It's that time of year and the WSJ offers some advice at Smartmoney.com for 8 Ways to Trim the Christmas Tree Costs.
  1. Compare pricing methods - some price by the foot, others a fixed cost. Call around to find the best deal; "look beyond tree lots to garden centers, supermarkets and home improvement stores."
  2. Compare species of trees - there are over 30 kinds of Christmas trees. The Fraser Fir has strong branches for heavy ornaments while the Blue Spuce has "sharp needles that deter a climbing housecat". Some species are more expensive than others
  3. Shop Online?  Both Target & Sears are selling trees cuts to order online. It may cut more but will be very fresh.
  4. Cut your own. "The U.S. Forest Service sells permits for consumers to cut down their own tree in a national forest. The price: as little as $10." [Just don't become lost while looking for the perfect tree to cut. "It's all woods. You are surrounded by woods until you get up on a ridge, you have no idea where you are going. But then every time we got to the top of a ridge, there was just another ridge,"]
  5. Use Coupons - Groupon, LivingSocial, etc
  6. Check the quality - you want a fresh tree that will last till Christmas. If the leaves are already falling off, walk away.
  7. Wait till last minute - pricing often falls 4 or 5 days before Christmas. You can start a new tradition of decorating the tree Christmas Eve.
  8. Haggle - the seller might have only paid $10 if they cut the tree with a US Forest permit.
Bottom Line

Here's some more useful things to know from the WSJ article:
  • Despite weather extremes, "Christmas tree pricing nationwide has remained flat."
  • "shoppers spent an average $36.12 last year for a real tree" but the price can easily be three times higher depending on tree height and type of tree.
  • Christmas is about the people, not the tree which gets tossed out afterwards. Don't overspend on a tree.
My wife made a lovely table-top tree this year. It has red beads strung on a bare tree frame with red ornaments. We like to be creative.

Here are some posts from previous years regarding fresh trees

and tree fires

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