Can You Invest in Christmas Trees?

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In between rounds of eggnog, someone at your office holiday party is bound to ask the dreaded question: “Can I invest in Christmas trees?”

Okay, maybe we just made that one up. But we were still curious, and in case you were too, we embarked on a Yuletide quest to find the answer.

Yes, you can invest in Christmas trees

About 30 million live trees are sold every year in the United States. Most of them are sold the weekend after Thanksgiving, and the average live tree costs about $78. That means consumers spend over $2 billion on Christmas trees annually.

Christmas trees can be a tricky investment. Douglas and Fraser Firs can take 6-8 years of growth to reach a marketable size, and their signature conical shape requires careful pruning. 

On the other hand, you can grow about 200 trees per acre, which translates to about $15,600 gross per acre. It’s not lavender, but it’s not bad. But, let’s be real — if you have a strong desire to invest in Christmas trees, you’re not letting a couple of numbers get in your way.

So how do you do it?

The nerdy way to invest in Christmas trees is to invest in Christmas-tree options — an options trading strategy similar to the butterfly spread that vaguely resembles a Christmas tree when viewed through the wholesome, festive light of a Bloomberg Terminal. Is it truly a way to invest in Christmas trees? Not really. Do we recommend it? Not really. But hey, it’s out there.

The fun way is to buy or start a Christmas tree farm. Sure, Christmas trees take years to grow and you can only sell them once. Sure, you have to hire seasonal labor up front, and get your hands covered in sap. But this is definitely the most romantic way to invest in Christmas trees and is sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

The smart way to invest in Christmas trees is probably a timberland REIT. A timberland REIT owns real estate forest land, to which it can sell logging rights — or the right to send the Griswolds hiking into the woods to find a good, old-fashioned family Christmas tree. . REITs are generally relatively safe investments, and timber REITs can be an effective way for real estate investors to double-dip in the housing market, as housing is the largest consumer of timber.

If you don’t want to build a towering commercial enterprise during the holiday season, you could grow trees for yourself and your family. It’s not exactly hands-off, and it almost certainly won’t make you money, but it turns out you can grow Christmas trees in most temperate climates. The more you know.

Maybe the real investments were the Christmas trees we grew along the way.

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