On her timeless holiday classic "River," Joni Mitchell sings "It's coming on Christmas / They're cutting down trees / Fleecing Manhattanites for more than my Crown Heights rent." Yes, it's only December 5th and the tinsel-decked holiday materialist gyre has already reached its peak velocity. They're selling Christmas trees in Greenwich Village for a thousand fucking dollars.

Word of this capitalist sleigh ride straight to holiday hell comes from the New York Post, who pressed veteran tree seller Heather Neville about her most expensive tree. Neville is currently offering a lovely 13-foot fir priced at $750 before the upsells. Throw in another $200 for the stand, $25 for delivery, and $20 each for the three to four men tasked with transport and installation, and you're looking at a seasonal dead plant display that could have gone toward helping the homeless or MAGA hat ornaments.

"They are not a traditional Christmas tree, so they are harder to get," Neville told the tabloid in an attempt to justify her high-priced inventory. "Not many farmers grow them. To find a good one is difficult." She told the Post that, thus far, the highest sale has been a 13-foot Nordmann fir for $500.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, which is a real thing that exists, between 25 and 30 million Christmas trees are cut down each year. The average buyer surveyed spends $50.82 on their Christmas tree, and the entire industry rakes in over $1.3 billion a year. Still, at least real trees are a renewable product that will biodegrade when you dispose of them in January (or, let's be honest, February). Almost all artificial trees are made of PVC plastic that will never break down (and some cost more than $1000).

Like most other holiday traditions, Christmas trees should be neither exalted nor reviled. Christmas is a complicated holiday that blends some of the best and worst aspects of our society into one big, loud, drawn-out party. But for fuck's sake, just buy a $30 tree at your local bodega, or take a trip upstate with friends and family to cut one down yourself. If you spend $1,000 on a single tree, I'll personally come over and pile hot coal underneath it and dance around the fire. Or maybe I'll just blog sarcastically about it, you never know!