Kaitlin McKinley Becker

Christmas Tree Shortage Leads to Higher Prices

The problem has been growing since last year, thanks largely to the recession more than 10 years ago

The day after one holiday, plenty of people are already preparing for the next. Following Thanksgiving, Christmas tree shopping is a first on many to do lists. But this year, those in the market for a tree will see an increase in price thanks to a decrease in supply.

Brody Flynn's family tree lot sees a lot of customers on this particular weekend, and he says his customers and those everywhere else will be paying roughly $10 more.

“We had a small decrease, of about 10 percent from last year that we were able to get, in addition to an increase in pricing," he said.

It’s a problem that’s been growing since last year, thanks largely to the recession more than 10 years ago.

Since growers in 2008 invested less in their farms, the trees which take at least eight years to grow are running out, driving prices from roughly $35 back then to an average of $78 today.

Elizabeth Harrington and her family were not expecting Christmas to be so costly, and she says it was definitely a bit of sticker shock.

“Santa coming and everyone we don’t want to spend all the money we have on a tree as a family of four," Harrington said. "We are trying to save money where we can.

Most consumers, though, are unconcerned and say it's the cost of the holidays.

Alyssa Maki says it doesn’t make a difference and that she’ll buy a tree no matter what. 

“It’s the holiday," Maki said. "It’s worth it in my eyes."

And that’s exactly what the industry is counting on: customers who will celebrate Christmas at just about any cost.

"Everybody wants a Christmas tree in their house," Flynn said.

And while that might be true, a lot of families are choosing to do away with a real tree for an artificial one.

Roughly 80-percent of homes with a tree go for a fake one, according to the American Christmas Tree Association. It’s easier to clean up and more cost effective in the long run.

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