Sticker Shock At Bay Area Christmas Tree Farms, Lots

Jennifer Hodges
December 02, 2019 - 10:40 am
Christmas Tree Farm

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SANTA CRUZ (KCBS Radio) - It's not unusual to blow your budget during the holidays, but this year the price of Christmas trees will eat away at more money than usual. 

A national shortage has made trees more expensive this year, according to some industry experts. 

Still, at the Patchen Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains, tree hunters were sanguine about the prices. After all, they said, tramping through the woods in the fresh air and picking out just the right tree from among hundreds is about the experience. 

"It's just tradition," one man said. "Since I was small, our parents used to take us up here."

According to KPIX-5, while the average price of a tree in the U.S. is $60, it can be far higher in the Bay Area. Buyers in San Francisco, for instance, were paying as much as $200 for a holiday evergreen. 

Jim Beck, the owner of Patchen Farm, told KCBS Radio the market shortage that's driving up prices is two decades in the making. 

"Twenty some years ago, everybody in Oregon thought that it would be a good idea to plant Christmas trees," he said. "So a few years later we end up with a glut of trees on the market, so prices plummeted, guys went out of business, so they stopped planting."

But to Beck and his customers, it's not about what you pay — it's about making priceless memories with friends and family, year after year.

"You want to come out and slop around in the mud and get all wet, then go home and sit by the fire and have a martini," he said. "That's what this is all about it."