The Definitive Best Time to Buy a Christmas Tree This Year

Every year, the kids (OK fine, grown-ups too) can’t wait to decorate the Christmas tree and this year, anticipation for the winter greenery is higher than ever. That’s why we turned to the yuletide fir experts (yep, they exist) to find out the best time to buy your Christmas tree—it turns out that fresh trees are best bought right after Thanksgiving, and artificial trees might best be purchased even sooner, which is why we've included a quick peek at our favorite artificial ones right below (scroll down for the full list of selects).

bell on a christmas tree
jastrijebphoto/Getty Images

When To Buy Your Tree

“We suggest that families shop early,” says Ann O’Connor from the National Christmas Tree Association. If kept watered, your Christmas tree should last four to five weeks. That means that the weekend after Thanksgiving is typically the best time to start looking for a fresh tree, however, this year you may want to start shopping for firs a little earlier than normal...and you definitely won't want to put this yuletide task off for too long.

The American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA) says fresh-cut Christmas trees are in high demand more than ever. "With growers facing tough challenges related to irrigation, elevated temperatures, and generally dry weather, consumers can expect to find fewer trees on farms or tree lots," the organization advises. So to get the best selection, shop early.

If you're opting for an artificial tree, there too you'll find more early shopping competition, especially because of fears about inflation. A recent NRF consumer survey reports that 44 percent of holiday shoppers say it’s better to purchase seasonal items early because inflation will continue to impact prices later in the year, while 31 percent think buying items early is best because the deals won’t get any better. Additionally, the ACTA says that small retailers are cutting tree orders due to supply chain disruptions and fears about recession—so there may be fewer trees to choose from at local businesses.

And getting your hands on a tree isn't the only problem you may be facing this year. You also have to get ready to spend some extra dough. Though the average cost of a tree was around $104 in 2019, last year, consumers could expect a 26 percent uptick in some markets, says ACTA, bringing the average cost to about $131. And this year, costs are continuing to climb. Eek!

family picking out a tree on christmas tree farm
RyanJLane/Getty Images

How To Spot A Good Tree

While you’re shopping, ensure the tree is fresh by making sure the needles bend in your fingers and don’t break, advises O’Connor. Then, once you’ve found the perfect pine, have your retailer make a new cut, about half an inch off the stump.

christmas tree and presents in decorated living room
Nadezhda1906/Getty Images  

How To Keep Your Tree Looking Its Best

So, you decided to go with a live tree and want to make sure it lives through the holiday season. O'Connor recommends you get your tree into water as soon as possible or make another cut if it’s going to sit out dry for a while. This ensures the tree can take in water to remain fresh. She says, “The really important thing is to check the water daily to make sure it never runs out.”

hand decorating chirstmas tree

How To Decorate A Christmas Tree

So the Frasier Fir you picked out in a dimly lit tree lot seems great—until you put it up in your house and realize it has more gaping holes in it than the 70-footer that held court at Rockefeller Center during the thick of the pandemic. Here are some Christmas tree decorating ideas to get you started.

The Best Artificial Christmas Trees To Buy

faux hemlock pre lit led christmas tree

10. Crate And Barrel Faux Hemlock Pre-lit Led Christmas Tree With White Lights 9'

Best for Tall Ceilings

Want to know which buzzy products are *really* worth buying? Sign up for our shopping newsletter to uncover our favorite finds.