CLAYTON (KPIX 5) — Christmas tree buyers have had a choice in what type of tree they want to purchase for a long time now, but this year, Christmas tree farmers really want consumers to think about it.

The American Christmas Tree Association says some 94 million American households will put up a tree every year, but about 80 percent of those trees will be artificial.

Roderick Best picked up his tree in a Target in Walnut Creek.

“Went artificial this year,” Best said, rolling his boxed tree out to the car. “Ran out of time.”

Best identified the instant nature of putting up an artificial tree as the main reason he doesn’t spend time picking and taking home a live one.

The Christmas Tree Promotion Board knows Americans are thinking about this choice. Accordingly, they have launched a million dollar social media campaign aimed at getting buyers to “keep it real.”

The campaign touched on everything from tradition to the environment. KPIX 5 asked a number of Bay Area lot owners how they’re faring, and not too many of them seemed concerned about artificial trees.

“We’ve had strong sales, increasing the last five years, said David Osteen, owner of the Clayton Valley Pumpkin Patch and Christmas Tree Farm. “But there’s been a shortage of trees as well.”

The live tree market is highly cyclical, with the fluctuating supply of trees probably driving sales and prices even higher than whatever is available at a Target.

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