Experts warn of shortages and price increases this holiday season: 'Find and buy your Christmas tree early'

Christmas trees
Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

Decking the halls might put a strain on your wallet this year.

According to TODAY, several factors may contribute to the rise in Christmas tree costs this holiday season, including weather disruptions and shipping issues caused by the pandemic. These factors are driving up costs, which are being passed along to consumers.

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But despite the tighter supply of trees and higher price tags, Tim O'Connor, the executive director of the National Christmas Tree Association, doesn’t think that it's going to be a full-blown "shortage."

"You think back to the time when you went to a grocery store and there was empty shelves of toilet paper or paper towels, that is a shortage, but we don't expect anything like that," he told the outlet.

However, if you want a real fir, pine, or spruce tree to warm up the living room this upcoming holiday season, you will likely have to pay a premium price.

"I think it’s possible that they will go up," O'Connor said of tree costs.

He explained that “the No. 1 factor is that the cost of trucking is no doubt more expensive than last year."’

The publication noted that freight fees to import trees from Canada are up as much as $1,500.

Other factors that contribute to the price increase surprisingly include the 2008 recession.

Since trees typically take about 10 to 12 years to mature, the recession is impacting the current supply since many farms shut down or planted fewer trees roughly a decade ago.

Jack Sangillo, whose family runs Anne Ellen Christmas Tree Farm in Manalapan, New Jersey, told the outlet that environmental factors are also playing a role.

“We have had a hard time growing trees because of different wet periods and different dry periods because of how the weather is going. Plus, farms up in Vermont and New Hampshire had an early frost, and it kind of killed off a lot of the trees,” he said.

The nationwide labor shortage is also impacting the industry.

"There's also the cost of labor," Wendy Ruh, who owns Sunset Christmas Tree Farm in Blairstown, New Jersey. "We've had that problem for several years now. It's hard to find people.”

And don’t think that the problem will be remedied with the purchase of an artificial Christmas tree.

After Americans were forced to cancel festivities last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are hoping to get into the spirit this year, which is driving up demand for holiday decor.

Wholesalers note that they are already seeing supply shortages, which are bumping up retail prices anywhere between 20% to 30%. The National Christmas Tree Company's most popular trees are expected to cost between $200 and $300 this year.

The company’s CEO Chris Butler had one suggestion for consumers looking to buy artificial trees this year: “act now, go out, and buy today, '' he told America Reports.

"The peak week for buying Christmas trees is around that Thanksgiving time, and we think by that point the shelves might be quite empty,” he said, per FOX.

"We hope every person who wants a Christmas tree will find their perfect tree this year," Jami Warner, executive director of the ACTA, said. "If I can give one piece of advice to consumers right now, it is to find and buy your Christmas tree early."

This means you should probably start your holiday shopping -- and tree shopping -- while everything is still in stock!

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