It's one week until Christmas. For those who plan to buy a live tree but have waited to throw on that hat and scarf to venture to the tree lots, your options may be limited.
According to CNBC, Christmas tree sales rose 16 percent this year the weekend after Thanksgiving.
"Demand has been very strong," said Oscar Slotarbeck, head of company surveys for ISI, a group which tracks Christmas tree sales.
The main reason for this boom is because there is one fewer week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which makes both Christmas tree )and gift shopping) more frantic. However, in general, more consumers seem to be wanting trees this year and the sellers hadn't anticipated the higher demand.
"My sense is, a lot of the various sellers expected the season to be roughly the same as last year," Slotarbeck said. "Some of the retailers said things sold so well the first weekend, they were running low on some particular large, popular trees."
In other words, a consumer will have a more difficult time if they are looking for an 8-foot tall Fraser or Douglas fir, voted the two most popular Christmas trees by a recent poll.
However, if consumers are looking for a small "condo" tree (approximately 4 feet tall), which have become trendy in the past ten years, they will have an easier time of it.
The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) reports that about 23 percent of those buying a tree, no matter the size, "will purchase their trees from a 'Christmas tree farm' while about 62 percent will buy trees from a retail lot." In addition, about 300,000 will purchase a live tree over the Internet or through a mail order catalog.
On a positive note, if a consumer does choose to buy a tree online, the prices drop late in the season. At Sears, an 8-foot Fraser fir is going for $152.99. At Target, a 5-foot Fraser is $99.94, a 25 percent discount.
Artificial trees, plastic or aluminum, are also an option for those who cannot find the perfect tree or who want to save money in the long run. In fact, just as many households plan to use a new or used artificial tree as those who are buying a live tree.
Whatever a consumers preference, there is less than a week to purchase and decorate this holiday tradition. Procrastinators, you have been warned.
Image via Wikimedia Commons