Nationwide, real trees are still out-selling artificial ones. But fake trees are gaining ground at an astounding rate.
Buying a real tree has been a life-long tradition for Hannah Skeen of Salt Lake City. “Because they smell really good and they look better,” she says.
Many are opting for fake trees this year because money is tight. An artificial one will last three to six years. “Yeah but there's no substitute for being genuine and that's what real, that's what really counts. With an artificial everything is artificial, everything is quick and easy. I would prefer to have a high quality tree and you're supporting a local economy,” adds Skeen.
Robinson Tree Farms has sold its trees at Nibley Golf Course in Salt Lake for 24 years. On average they sell six-thousand trees each season. “They're lagging a little behind last year but I think we're going to meet our mark,” explains Cliff Robinson, owner of Robinson Tree Farms.
Good news for tree farmers, especially since artificial trees are getting a bigger piece of the pie.
In 2007, 17.4-million people bought fake trees - an 87-percent jump from the previous year's total of 9.3-million.
Still, real tree sales were higher at 31.3-million last year.
“There's no substitute for a real tree,” says Robinson.
Even though the 50 to 60-percent off pre-lit artificial pines at Roberts Arts and Crafts make a beautifully tempting offer.
“They do, but they only last three or four years in a person's home before they throw them out and go back to a real tree. Because they get bent up in a couple of years and they're looking pretty ragged,” says Robinson.
Smell vs. convenience, tradition vs. re-use and now you can add economic sense to the great Christmas tree debate.
Robinson Tree Farms has 680 trees left on the lot; the owner says they will sell them all before Christmas.
Roberts Arts and Crafts is also seeing steady artificial tree sales. In fact they doubled their inventory this year.
Additionally, ABC 4 checked in with big warehouse stores like Costco and many of their locations have sold out of artificial, pre-lit trees.