Artificial Christmas Trees, Decor Spending Up to Highest Levels Since Recession Started

Maybe we’re all putting it on our credit cards.

Man, sometimes it feels like the recession has been going on for all of eternity- and to be fair to people my age, if you’re in your very very very early thirties, it’s been a constant, nagging presence the majority of your adult life. Bummer. But what also should be considered is that there are some signs that the economy is slowly picking up- various indexes are employed to measure this, like lipstick and high heels, but another signal is that spending on Christmas finery like artificial Christmas trees is up this year near where it was before everything got all awful and depressing back in 2008.

Although it may seem that Christmas decor is one of the first things trimmed from a leaner budget, Home Depot spokeswoman Jean Niemi confirmed to BusinessWeek that people actually tend to cut back on Christmas infrequently if they can avoid it:

“We expect strong tree sales this year and strong holiday sales overall… History shows us that even in a down economy, the Christmas tradition isn’t one that families part with.”

It’s not just artificial Christmas trees that are selling more briskly in 2011- fresh Christmas trees are also trending up. Industry expert Rick Dungey of the National Christmas Tree Association said:

“We’ve heard optimism from both wholesale and choose-and-cut growers. They think the number of trees purchased might be more this year than last year.”

So far in 2011, sales are up 3.1% over 2010, to $3.4 billion. Americans are expected to spend $800 million on real trees and a staggering $2.6 billion on slightly pricier artificial Christmas trees. Are you getting a real tree or an artificial Christmas tree this year?