56% of Americans plan to sharpen their pencils and slash their Christmas budgets this holiday season. Inflation and a pending economic recession have wreaked havoc on wallets across America. With the holidays coming up, Americans have to pull in their spending on gifts, decorations, and food, but there is one area where they will not compromise: the tree.
Anything but The Tree
Trees.com surveyed 1,250 people who celebrate Christmas in the U.S. to find out how inflation affects the purchase of Christmas trees this year.
According to the survey, there will be a 7% increase in the amount of Americans who plan to buy a real tree this year versus those who bought one last year. 62% of respondents said that having a Christmas tree is “very important” to them.
One respondent said, “Having a Christmas tree is very important to our family, but the tradition of choosing a tree together is just as important. I have never not had a Christmas tree, but it would definitely negatively impact my ability to enjoy the holiday. The lights provide a sense of peace and joy that other decorations do not. It is the centerpiece of our Christmas display in our living room. We are willing and plan to pay an increased price for a Christmas tree. We also have a backup artificial tree that we store in our attic just in case we are unable to find a real tree.”
53% of respondents said they would have an artificial tree, and 8% didn’t plan on having a tree at all.
No Matter The Cost
With inflation and rising costs, shoppers can expect to pay around 15% more for their Christmas tree this year. However, Americans have reported that they do not plan to reduce the amount they will spend on a Christmas tree.
“In some cases, it’s worth it to pay the increased prices for Christmas trees. However, it isn’t always necessary. For those looking to get a real Christmas tree from a farm, I recommend asking if there’s any discount for cutting or wrapping the tree yourself,” explains Zack DeAngelis, the founder of Tree Journey.
“The farm will most likely have certain trees that haven’t grown well and are less desirable. These can cost even less, which can help you save more if you’re in a pinch.”
The average Christmas tree cost in the last few years has been around $100. But 18% of respondents said they would spend up to $200 or more to ensure they have a real Christmas tree this year.
Trimming The Tree, and The Budget
Despite shoppers’ willingness to shell out some cash for a Christmas tree, over half of respondents said they would cut down on overall holiday spending due to inflation.
One respondent admitted, “…inflation has definitely affected my Christmas plans. I used to buy a lot of presents for my kids and grandkids, but this year I am going to have to be more selective and purchase fewer gifts. I’m also going to have to be careful about how much I spend on food and decorations. Overall, it’s going to be a more frugal Christmas than in years past.”
Asked how they would be reducing their spending this year, a variety of cost-cutting measures were mentioned. 72% said they would be putting a budget on gifts, 13% would only be giving people handmade gifts this year, and 9% would not be giving any gifts.
23% said they would not be hosting a party this year, and 44% said they would not be spending as much on decorations.
Of those asked, 25% said they spent $200 or less on Christmas last year, and 34% said they would keep their spending under $200 this year.
The largest group of respondents said they bought gifts for 3-4 people last year, but are only planning on buying gifts for 2-3 people this year.
When asked about their plans for gift-giving this year, one person said, “Our family now buys presents based on a system that limits how much each of us can spend. We used to go CRAZY with the presents. We now have a four-gift rule (there are five of us who exchange gifts). We purchase ONE gift for each member of our family.”
Limiting gifts can be an easy way to reduce the financial burden of the season, but there are other ways to cut back. Financial expert Colleen McCreary shared some savings tips with Tennessee news station WBBJ . “If people have a list and they know who they are shopping for, what they can do is be on the lookout,” she said.
“I always tell people to limit your spending and shopping time to a specific point in time during the day so you are not tempted all day long and overspending.” She also advocates cash-back programs and coupon apps to help save money when shopping online.
Spend Money on The Things That Matter Most
If the survey revealed one thing, it’s that Americans are consciously prioritizing spending on what brings the most joy during the holidays. “In many cases, the pile of gifts is not actually what the holidays are all about,” noted McCreary. For many, having a real Christmas tree or hosting a party for family and friends takes precedence over gift-giving as shoppers tighten their budget this winter.