We live in a wonderful suburban neighborhood and can walk to an awesome farm in as little as 5 minutes. Each season, the neighborhood farm will have different items on offer. They’ve just about finished cleaning up the last pumpkins and now you can get:
The $1 billion question is: What kind of tree to buy?
Did you know American consumers consistently spend more than one billion dollars on Christmas trees every holiday season!? In 2019, 26.2 million real Christmas trees were sold in the United States. There are around 300,000 acres in production for growing Christmas trees in the United States, according to the USDA. What an evergreen economy isn’t it? Read more here if interested.
Oh, Christmas tree!
The Christmas Tree Farm
At our farm, you can get a few different kinds of trees, pre-cut trees, or you can even go cut your own! Amazing if you think about it. I love how entrepreneurial the farm is. Truly genius!
It’s big business.
The holiday season is getting started!
Today we went for a walk to the farm together with the kids who love the place as well. Most certainly they started comparing and arguing which tree fits our home better.
That was the moment I decided to switch this into another Financial Excursion!
To get into the mood, hit play on the below song “Christmas Tree Farm” by Taylor Swift as you read on:
Did you know Taylor Swift only took 24 hours to produce this above song? She then released it within 4 days!? It’s my favourite holiday song 2020 playing on endless loop on our home SONOS system.
All of a sudden everyone needs to have a freshly cut pine tree temporarily decorating their living rooms. Amid all the year-end busyness, finalizing holiday preparations and getting everything done before the year comes to an end you got to find a tree – again!
Since we’re in the midst of a climate emergency and become increasingly aware of our ecological footprint, did you ever think how much it costs “nature” to cut yet another tree to look at it falling apart in your living room, every year? Wouldn’t it be better to let these trees grow stronger and help us absorb more carbon dioxide?
We can look at this dilemma from different perspectives. And yes, there are feasible alternatives. But not all of them “fit the bill”. I understand.
A real Christmas tree is genuine, provides a “true feeling of Christmas” and doesn’t come across as cheap, also, exactly form the ecological point of view: Real Christmas trees are sustainable if farmed for that purpose!
On the other side, fake Christmas trees are not simply clean, they need to be produced as a factory somewhere and transported much further. However, once you got one, they are convenient, they can stay longer, very much longer, they always look the same and ultimately can save you a lot of money over time!
A real tree standing around two meters tall needs around a decade to grow into its size before it gets chopped for its use, an artificial tree on the other side can last you a decade or longer.
Christmas trees most likely will also get more expensive in the future, hence buying a sustainable artificial one today – which costs often about the same amount as a real one by the way – shields you from upcoming inflation.
Christmas Tree Economics
As mentioned above, together with the kids we enjoyed seeing the Christmas tree farm shop and looked at the beautiful decorations, the nice trees and of course the prices as well.
Seeing the price tags, I explained that our artificial tree cost me around $40 more than 5 years ago – we actually bought it AFTER Christmas when they were on sale. A similar tree nowadays would cost around $100 and I’ve asked them how many times we could save maybe $100 already. Yes, around five times by now. That’s $500 for team FIRE.
Last time I wrote about how cutting your own hair or baking your own bread can help you get wealthy, some commentors argued in disbelieve that this seems too easy and I could be simply applying this very same method to virtually anything in life.
You know what?
Besides not believing that it works, they are absolutely right: I can and I do!
Look at the below table with the following assumptions: $100 cost for a real or an artificial tree. Assuming 2% annual inflation. Assuming 10% average return on investments. This does not reflect time savings and increasing your mental capacity due to reducing decision making complexity.
Here are my simple Christmas tree economics.
I called it “The Christmas Tree Recurrence Extrapolation”:
If you change your habit, simply reading this blog post saved your future self $20,000!
Awaken The Christmas Spirit
Looking at all the trees at the farm initiated the Christmas spirit in ourselves. We quickly hurried back home, I went looking for the carton box with our artificial Christmas tree and brought it to our living room. Like every year we enjoyed putting up and decorating the tree together.
Looking at the tree market, deciding not to buy anything and then going back home to set-up our tree should have taught the kids a lesson that you can enjoy seeing a market without buying anything.
I’m most certain our artificial tree will last us many more years to come.
It still looks fresh.
From this day onwards, our Sonos system plays now “Christmas Tree Farm” on endless loop!
Is it really time to give up on real Christmas trees?
I am not here to say yes or no to that, as I enjoy both ways. We have decided from a convenience, environmental, time optimization, and money point of view to stick to our artificial tree for as long as we can.
In the meantime, if you are still looking for gifting ideas to spread financial literacy you may want to check out my other Christmas posts “Santa’s Kick-Ass Christmas List” or “Merry Giftmas List” for finspirational gift ideas!
Gift something [financially] empowering if you can.
Merry Christmas everyone!!!