Small Christmas trees can be found for around €10 this year, but the most popular trees for sale in Estonia ahead of the holidays are spruces of average height that fit in an apartment, which will run buyers €20-30.
While recent rainy weather hasn't been the most conducive to the Christmas spirit, Christmas tree lots have already begun cropping up by grocery stores, gardening supply stores are selling trees and those interested can even order a tree online and have it delivered to their doorstep.
OÜ Artiston project manager Tarmo Vahter told ERR that tree sales will be most popular in the week leading up to Christmas itself. Artiston sells trees in the parking lots of several different supermarket chains, including Rimi, Prisma, Maksimarket and Selver.
The cheapest tree they offer is the Norway spruce (Picea abies); a 1.25-meter Norway spruce costs €12. Their most popular, however, are 1.5-2.25 meter high spruces, which run from €24-36.
Hortes, meanwhile, is selling trees between 80 centimeters and 1.25 meters in height for €9.90 and trees between 1.5-2.25 meters in height for €15.90-29.90.
Hansaplant store manager Mariana Hallikas said that peak season has already begun at their store, where they expect to see robust Christmas tree sales over the next two weeks.
"Our prices have remained at the same level for years already, and this year we're offering potted Christmas trees starting at €2.99 and fresh cut Christmas trees that are 150-175 centimeters in height starting at €11.99," Hallikas said. "We also have a variety of evergreen branches for sale for making things and wreaths."
The prices at Artison tree lots haven't changed much compared to last year either; Vahter noted that when setting this year's prices, the company saw no reason to raise them. He did add, however, that prices from tree lot to tree lot may differ somewhat, just as gas prices can differ from gas station to gas station, due to differences in lot rental prices.
Fir more popular in early December
Also on offer by Artison are Serbian spruce (Picea omorika) and white spruce (Picea pungens), as well as Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana) and Fraser fir (Abies fraseri).
"We haven't dared order many [Fraser firs], but it has somewhat shorter needles than the Nordmann fir, a dense crown, is narrower, and is also distinguished by the fact that unlike the Nordmann fir, it gives off a bit of a scent," Vahter described. "All of these other species certainly enrich our assortment, but the main one people buy is the Norway spruce."
In addition domestic spruce, Hansaplant is also offering shoppers Nordmann fir and potted trees, and Hortes is also offering Serbian spruce, white spruce, Nordmann fir and potted trees.
Nordmann firs are going for €18 and up at Artiston tree lots, €18.99 and up at Hansaplant and €19.99 and up at Hortes.
According to Hallikas, firs are more popular in early December, as they don't shed needles. By now, however, shoppers have already begun buying spruce trees as well.
"Potted trees have continued growing in popularity for years," she highlighted. "You can buy it in mid-November already and successfully keep it either indoors or outside until it can be planted in the spring."
Cut your own in a state forest
Anyone interested in cutting down their own Christmas tree in the forest can do so via the State Forest Management Centre (RMK) again this year.
Spruces permitted to be cut down in state forests include those growing along the roadside, along ditches and under power lines, where they won't have the opportunity to grow to full size anyway. The fee for a spruce of up to one meter in height is €3 and up to two meters in height is €8 and can be paid to the RMK via mobile payment or bank transfer.
Christmas trees are available online for delivery as well, but buyers need to take into account that delivery will cost extra.
On joulukuused.ee, for example, spruce trees of up to one meter in height cost €15, up to 1.5 meters cost €18 and up to 2 meters cost €25. Delivery within Tallinn city limits costs €6; actually bringing the tree inside and setting it up starts at €10.
Editor: Aili Vahtla