By Chris | December 24, 2007
Many cities host Christmas tree drop-off sites where used trees are picked up by city officials and mulched up to be used for compost and landscaping. Most trees are dropped off after Christmas. However, a few families leaving town early for the holidays drop off their tree early. My family banks on recovering such a tree each year. Everyone keeps a watchful eye on the drop-off spots, intentionally driving past them on the shopping trips and other errands. Earlier tonight we found a used Christmas tree for yet another successful scavenging year.
The used Christmas tree market doesn’t have a lot of economic implications. It’s not really a market because no exchange is taking place. One party is discarding a good and another, who values it, is recovering it. Which begs the question: why don’t families with unwanted trees try to sell them? The economist in me would argue that the market it too illiquid (most people already have trees by December 23rd) and the transaction costs are too high (especially relative to the deteriorating quality of the tree). However, another part of me likes to think that those families part freely with their trees in the hope that they will make someone else’s Christmas a little merrier. Listening to my sister shout gleefully, “A tree, a tree” I suspend my marvel with markets and enjoy the unique joy an anonymous gift can bring. Merry Christmas!
Note: Please forgive the sparsity of my posts recently. I should be back to a post every day or two after Christmas.