The Enjoyment Index

Why Do Christmas Trees Cost So Much?

  By Dennis Tompkins

Are Christmas Trees really that expensive?

It depends on one’s perspective. It is natural for consumers to focus on their own pocketbook. But, take a moment to consider the following.

Christmas tree growers also have pocketbooks. However, the money is going out of them for 7 to 10 years before any income is realized. During that time, the crop is at risk from insects, diseases, freezes, and drought. Often 10 to 25% of the crop is not salable because of these and other factors.

Naturally, growers look forward to that one payday after years of investing many dollars and hard work into their crop.

The Enjoyment Index

One way to look at tree prices is to compare the cost of an item or activity and compare it to the time a family may enjoy it.

The following table illustrates how a family may enjoy a real Christmas tree 100 times more than a movie, 300 more times than a restaurant dinner, 350 times more than a fast food dinner and 500 more times than a professional football game.

Cost for Family of 4
Length of Enjoyment
Cost per Hour
No. of Time Trees Are Enjoyed Over Other Activities
Christmas Tree
$ 50
500 hours
$ .10
Movie & Snacks
$ 40
4 hours
$ 10
100 times
Restaurant Dinner
$ 60
2 hours
$ 30
300 times
Fast Food Dinner
$ 35
1 hours
$ 35
350 times
Seahawks Game
$ 200
4 hours
$ 50
500 times

So, you see it all depends upon one’s perspective. Perhaps tree prices no longer seem to be expensive when compared to the costs of other popular family activities.