DELMAR, Md. - Do you prefer a fresh or artificial Christmas tree?
Many folks prefer one over the other, and they each have their own reasons.
"If we cut down natural trees - we like watching them in their natural environment because we do not want to cause deforestation, which can harm the environment," said Anaixa Rodriguez of Delmar, who prefers artificial trees.
"I always like a fresh Christmas tree," said Judy Dzimiera of Salisbury. "The smell of the tree, there's nothing like that; cutting down our own tree, just gets you into the spirit of Christmas."
But according to Jay Bozman of P&J Tree Farm in Delmar, folks who prefer fresh trees might suffer from some sticker shock - higher prices because of inflation.
"Chemicals are more expensive, fuel for the tractors, the mowing, the spraying, everything's just gone up," Bozman said.
Increased labor costs among many others are also helping push Christmas tree prices up.
And decreased planting during the height of the COVID pandemic has led to some tight supply.
"Most trees I think you would expect to pay about fifteen dollars more this year than last," Bozman said.
Reaction from some Delmarvans to the higher prices has been mixed.
Colin Smullen of Salisbury says artificial trees are saving his family money.
"It's been cheaper every year just to keep my artificial tree rather than go out and buy a fresh Christmas tree," Smullen said.
Judy Dzimiera, however, is not letting the costs stand in the way of Christmas spirit.
"We've gotten fresh trees for many many years and it probably won't deter us this year," Dzimiera said.
Not all fresh Christmas trees are made equal. To save a a few dollars on a fresh Christmas tree, you may want to consider fast-growing pine trees, instead of fir or spruce trees which take more time to reach maturity.
Tree farms are expecting enough trees to satisfy demand this year, but larger trees could be in shorter supply. They recommend purchasing your tree early in the season for the best selection. And, be sure to get the tree in a water-holding stand as soon as possible, keep the tree well hydrated, and keep it away from sources of heat.
Many tree farms and lots on Delmarva open on Saturday, November 26.