Ordering Christmas Trees Online Is Officially a Pandemic Trend

Walmart becomes the latest retailer to bridge tradition and safety this holiday season

christmas trees for sale
The past year has paved the way for online Christmas tree orders. Walmart
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

Walmart is the latest retailer to offer live Christmas tree orders and delivery as brands continue to seek ways to meet consumer needs during a pandemic-era holiday season.

To order a Christmas tree online, Walmart customers first visit the retailer’s ecommerce site. There, they can search by tree type and height (ranging from 3 to 9 feet), as well as for fresh-cut or potted options. Other holiday plants like poinsettias are available for delivery, too.

Home improvement chains Lowe’s and Home Depot are among the retailers also offering online Christmas tree orders this year. Claire Tassin, director analyst at Gartner, previously told Adweek that these retailers are facing a tough season and are therefore making decisions that reflect how they want to balance their own needs with those of customers, while minimizing risk.

That being said, 2020 has uniquely paved the way for online Christmas tree orders in part because of the uptick in online grocery ordering, as well as increased consumer comfort in buying big-ticket items online.

“If there’s going to be a year for ordering live trees for home delivery sight unseen, this will be the year for that,” Tassin said earlier this month.

But the Christmas tree—which Walmart called one of the “central figures” of the holiday season (at least for those who celebrate Christmas)—poses clear logistical challenges given size, as well as consumer sentiment. It is, after all, not just produce in a weekly grocery order. But the good news is retailers have spent most of 2020 fine-tuning their delivery and pickup options—Walmart alone added 150 stores with pickup and 170 with same-day delivery just in Q3—so, theoretically at least, they’re better prepared for Christmas tree orders than ever before.

Walmart is also sweetening the deal with a partnership with home repair marketplace Handy, which will allow customers to pay to have their lights hung (and, conveniently, to order them from Walmart.com beforehand if need be). It comes with a price—$129 for single-story homes and $199 for two stories, as well as $99 to $159 to have the lights removed—but Walmart said it will “take the worry away from Christmas lights, ensuring our customers get all the joy and none of the hassle of climbing a ladder.”

Like online Christmas tree orders, customers add the light installation service to their online carts and Handy will coordinate an appointment.

“We understand the holiday season could look different this year. It may include staying home more than usual or never having to leave your neighborhood to see lit-up homes,” a spokesperson said in an announcement. “Whatever the case this holiday season, Walmart is committed to making our customers’ lives easier by increasing convenience and access to the things that make the holiday season bright and cheerful.”

Another holiday fixture that will look different this year: Santa. Some retailers, like Macy’s, are going the virtual route, while others—like Bass Pro Shops—are keeping Santa in-store with some modifications.

@lisalacy lisa.lacy@adweek.com Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.