Festive families across the UK may be cutting down on their Christmas tree traditions, but in Birmingham householders are refusing to let the economic downturn take the sparkle out of Christmas.
Sales of Christmas trees are performing strongly, despite a nationwide survey revealing that people plan to scale down their seasonal decorations.
Research showed that a third of people in the UK intend to reduce the size of their tree, while eight per cent are not bothering with decorations this year.
The survey, by car company Chevrolet, also showed that families will spend an average of £56.88 on decorations compared with £77.45 last year.
And yet tree sellers in the region have seen no sign of a drop in demand.
Graham Gilbert, owner of Woods Farm, in Shirley, has one million trees over his 500 acres of land, and says business is booming.
“For £25 you can get a very nice tree, so it’s definitely not the most expensive item on the shopping list. Nationwide, sales are up from five million last year to over seven million. You can’t beat a real Christmas tree,” he said.
Demand is still strong: last week a 40-foot Nordmann Fir sold for £1,000. A more modest 6ft Norway spruce sells for £20.
Mr Gilbert said prices of trees had risen this year due to a growing demand from Eastern Europe.
But sales of the trees are still strong at garden centres, despite the increase in prices.
At Notcutts, in Solihull, a six foot tree costs between £35 and £55, but the price hike has not dissuaded customers.
“Prices have risen this year due to increased transport and growing costs,” said manager Julian Ranson. “We were concerned about how this would affect sales, but the trees are doing very well.”
Staff at Whitacre Garden Centre in Coleshill have been amazed by the evergreen demand.
“We’re actually doing far better than last year. It seems like real trees are making a comeback,” said Debbie Ashton.