With Christmas in Finland less than a week away, Yle found that a Christmas tree could set consumers back a hefty 100 euros or as little as 10 euros.
Many homemakers are on the prowl for a lush Christmas tree that can weather seasonal festivities, so Yle went out to visit tree merchants at market squares and garden stores and to compare prices around the country.
The resulting price comparison is based on an indoor tree of about two metres. Priced at just 10 euros, the cheapest trees were on sale in Mikkeli in southeast Finland. By contrast the most expensive trees in the unofficial study could be found in Oulu, where the price tag was 100 euros.
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In the west, Pori’s Liisantori hosts a traditional Christmas tree market every year. Tapani Kopio from Kauvatsa in Kokemäki said he has been selling the seasonal centrepiece for 40 years. He said that consumers increasingly appear to be looking for more compact firs.
"Smaller trees are easier to handle. Larger trees could also fit in homes in the past," he observed.
The trees are left to grow until they are harvested during a growing phase.
"A tree that is about two metres tall would have been growing for about 10 years before it is harvested for sale. Larger trees about three metres tall can be up to 20 years old," he noted.
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Leo Suutari was one of the shoppers on the hunt for a Christmas tree in Kuopio on Tuesday. He said that there are specific criteria for a good living room centrepiece.
"The tree must be small enough, not too wide and a rich green colour. And it must be Finnish. I have never bought an imported tree," he declared.
He added that Christmas trees have been part of the Suture family celebrations for more than 60 years – there would be no Christmas without it.
"The smell of a fir is what makes Christmas."