Inflation means your Christmas tree might cost more this year, but shopping local could help

The time is once again near to start shopping for the perfect Christmas tree.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 4:06 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 5:00 PM HST
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WAHIAWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The time is once again near to start shopping for the perfect Christmas tree.

With inflation running rampant in 2023, many consumers may be mindful of their spending. Prices will vary depending on where you shop, but there are some local options to consider.

Tucked on the outskirts of Wahiawa sits Helemano Farms.

Every year in late November, the farm’s 40 acres turns into a holiday hunting ground for families in search of the perfect tree.

Aaron O’brien took over the business from his late father, and has been selling Christmas trees since 2007.

What keeps him going?

“The kids coming back and seeing the families,” he said. “That’s what keeps me doing it – and enjoying this type of work.”

Customers wanting to support local visit his farm, which is on land leased by the state Agribusiness Development Corporation. They have two options to choose from: The “Hawaiian Style” Norfolk Pine trees, or the more fragrant Cypress variety.

“The family will meet one of our workers and they’ll take them out and customers will pick a tree, (workers will) bail it, load ‘em up for them. And for the people that want a pre-cut we have precuts in the tents,” O’brien said.

Obrien’s prices for Norfolk pines remain unchanged from last year. Cypress trees are a bit more expensive due to their maintenance needs throughout the year.

If you’re opting to buy a tree shipped in from the mainland, increased costs and shipping prices could trickle down and result in a slightly higher price tag, but local vendors are doing their best to keep costs low.

“The shipping has gone up a lot. We’ve tried to not pass that onto the consumer so prices have increased a few dollars over the last few years, but we really try to do other things to make up the difference,” Becky Harrison, marketing director for Habilitat said.

Habilitat’s annual Christmas tree sale is a fundraiser for the organization going on 47 years now. At various locations around Oahu, they sell roughly 7,000 trees total every holiday season.

Despite a gradual rise in costs, especially since the pandemic, tree sellers say shoppers are willing to spend the money because it’s the holidays and want to enjoy it.

“That’s the attitude that everyone took was you know what, it’s Christmas, I’m with my family, and were gonna get a tree, we’re gonna celebrate and have fun and be festive,” Harrison said.

Helemano Farms opens Nov. 18 and 19 for Norfolk Pine sales only. They will open up sales of Cypress trees the following weekend. For more details, visit their website by clicking here.

Habilitat opens their Christmas tree stands on Nov. 25. Information on their sales can be found here.