CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Still haven’t purchased that Christmas tree? You may want to shop around.
Charlotte area Christmas tree farms expect this weekend will be a busy one as many go out and buy a real Christmas tree for the month of December.
So if you’re not going artificial and don’t have time to trek to, say the North Carolina mountains to cut down your own, where should you go?
Short answer—it depends on where exactly you want your money to go.
On Thursday afternoon NBC Charlotte went to six tree lots in the south part of town to compare prices for a typical six-to-seven foot real Christmas tree.
The most expensive was $64 at Simpson’s tree farm on Pineville-Matthews Road near Johnston Road in the Carmel neighborhood.
The cheapest was a Douglas fir tree for $24 at the lot next to Harris Teeter at Quail Corners shopping strip on Park Road.
One worker at the Quail Hollow tree lot operated by Hillbilly Produce Market—one of a handful they run in the Charlotte area--says that depending on your zip code, the same tree may cost significantly more or less.
For example, at the Simpson’s tree lot, a six-to-seven footer was anywhere from $49 to $62, while a five minute drive north on Park Road at Sharon Road West, HillBilly’s same-sized trees ranged from $24-$48.
Depending on the zip code, prices will change. The higher wealth area you’re in, the more your tree will cost, he said.
Where do I want my money to go?
But there’s another consumer-purchasing issue with Christmas trees. You and your family only buy one per year, and the product is related to a religious holiday. So maybe more so than a majority of other things a person or family buys throughout the year, consumers seem to be more focused on where that money goes.
Someone could easily go to the South End Lowe’s and buy a Fraser or Douglas fir for $25-$35, which was the lowest price range NBC Charlotte found during the limited excursion.
But maybe you’re more inclined to support a small business or charity and want to buy from your church.
It’ll cost you more to do that—three south Charlotte church tree lots we went to ranged from $45-$59 for the same sized tree—but you’re supporting a church and maybe a charity as well.
At the Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church lot, for example, all proceeds go to CSS Pregnancy and Adoption Support Programs. The lot at St. Ann’s Church in Dilworth, proceeds benefit seven organizations, including Holy Angels, Friendship Trays and Rachel’s Vineyard.
But for some, spending a few bucks more versus going to a big box retailer that can undercut competitor's costs is worth it.
What We Found
Here’s a list of tree lot prices for a 6-7 foot tree at six locations across south Charlotte
Simpson’s tree lot (Pineville-Matthews Road near Johnston Road): $49-$62
HillBilly Produce Market tree lot (Park Road at Quail Corners shopping strip: $24-$48
St. Vincent Church (Park Road): $48-$58
St. Gabriel Catholic Church (Providence Road): $48-$59
St. Ann’s Church (Park Road ($45-$55)
Lowe’s (South Boulevard at Iverson Way): $25-$35
Simpson’s tree lot (South Kings Drive): $50-$60
Lil Grandfather Mountain tree farm (Highway 18, 120 miles from Ft. Mill) $49-$59
HillBilly Produce Market (Arboretum) 6 foot tree for $34 (via Lauren Anderson)
Where do you buy your tree? How much did you pay? Let us know by tweeting to @wcnc, emailing us to firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a comment on our Facebook.com/NBCCharlotte page.