Fear of recession may have put a dent in some retail sales this holiday season, but Americans won't do without a Christmas tree.

That's the word from the National Christmas Tree Association headquarters in Milwaukee, which expects a 5 percent jump in sales to a total of 36 million trees this season."We're hearing great reports" on tree sales, association spokeswoman Jean Weiss said. "The holidays usually aren't affected by any recession when it comes to Christmas trees."

Weiss said while a few areas may have seen slightly lower prices for Christmas trees this season, nationwide prices have remained stable for the past few years at $3.25 to $5.25 per foot.

The Scotch pine has been the most popular Christmas tree choice for the last several years, followed by the Douglas fir. But Weiss says most people usually choose a tree based on family tradition.

The tradition of having a family tree may be helping to keep sales of live trees up as baby boomers raise their children, according to Weiss.

"The 1990s are going to be the decade of the family, and going out and picking out a tree is a real family occasion," she said. "You don't get that feeling when you crawl up to the attic and get out the artificial tree."