Climate change, shipping delays to blame
Supply chain backups have made getting the presents in time for Christmas challenging, but they’re also making having something to put those gifts under difficult. There’s a shortage of Christmas trees this year, and it’s making those that are available expensive enough to make you say, “Bah, humbug!”
Heat and wildfires over the summer meant poor yields for Christmas tree farms on the West Coast, and the sheer amount of acreage burned means there will be shortages for perhaps a decade to come.
“It’s a double whammy — weather and supply chain problems are really hampering the industry,” Jami Warner, executive director of the American Christmas Tree Association, told the Associated Press. “Growers have been hard hit by floods, fires, smoke, drought, extreme weather conditions.”
A lack of truck drivers is making it difficult to get those trees good enough for harvest to market. The shortage means both natural and artificial trees are going for 30% or more what they might otherwise. Still, many people are willing to pay the premium because Christmas just isn’t Christmas to them without a tree.
“I came in early because I heard in the news that there’s not going to be enough fresh Christmas trees,” Terri Schaffert of San Mateo, Calif, told AP. Her husband isn’t happy about the change. “What else can we do? I have to get ready for the future because I love Christmas. I love to decorate.”
Artificial trees, like a lot of other products we buy, mostly come from China. COVID-related supply chain issues have kept shipments delayed, suppressing the available inventory in that sector too. Caroline Tuan, COO of Balsam Hill, said the company was charging about a 20% premium for its artificial Christmas trees because of the supply shortage.
You can still have a holly, jolly Christmas this year, but it’s going to cost a bit more.