COSTA MESA (CBSLA) — People looking to have a real Christmas tree this season will be paying more as prices continue to go up.

“We have seen an increase in prices,” Tanya Farmakis, owner of Farmakis Family Farms in San Juan Capistrano, said. “And on opening day, those are the ones that people are lining up at our gates for, believe it or not. And it’s first come, first served.”

Farmakis and her family run one of the last farms that grows their own Christmas trees. For the past 10 years, her family has raised thousands of trees and had thousands more shipped in from Oregon, but this year she said shoppers can expect to pay more.

“You see maybe a couple dollar difference depending on the tree,” she said.

The average cost for a Christmas tree last year was $78. The year before that was $75. This year, prices could creep up to $81.

Farmakis said the trees shipped in from Oregon are more expensive this year because of the good economy. Tree farms, she said, were having a hard time finding temporary seasonal workers since many have full-time jobs.

“As a result of that, they’ve had to increase salaries for those temporary seasonal employees,” she said. “And then that trickles down to us.”

And some tree lot owners said they were having a difficult time finding 10-year-old trees between 8 feet and 10 feet tall because many growers were hesitant to plant Christmas trees during the Great Recession.

Home Depot also reported an increase in prices, with some of their Christmas trees costing $5 more this year, but they said supply was not a problem. One Costa Mesa store said it was expecting a shipment of 10,000 trees for the season.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans spent $2 billion on Christmas trees last year — $5 million more than the year before — and Farmakis predicted the price increase wouldn’t keep people away.

“It’s going to be very busy for those three weeks,” she said. “We’re actually getting ready — getting our boots on because it’s going to be muddy, slushy during the rain, and have a good time.”

Farmakis said her first shipment from Oregon should arrive this week, and she said she thinks this year will be her best year yet.

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