Consumers face challenges finding the right tree for the season

‘Good grief, Charlie Brown!’


Alexis Smith

A shortage of live Christmas trees has consumers searching for viable alternatives this year.

Gabriel Medina, Staff Reporter

It’s officially December, and families have been on the annual hunt for Christmas trees, but many families have noticed something different about this year’s Christmas trees; they aren’t there!

The growth of demand for Christmas trees and a tightening supply chain, many are left unable to find a good Christmas tree, if any at all. Prices have skyrocketed, reaching easily 20 to 30 dollars more per tree, and even synthetic Christmas trees costs have increased, due to manufacturing and supply costs increasing. With a shortage of workers, there are fewer people to grow, cut, ship, and sell these trees, or to harvest the materials to create them.

“With this year’s extremely hot weather, it ended up damaging most of the seedlings,” said Home Depot employee Lance Hall. “With most of the trees killed off or damaged, there were very few trees to ship even, to begin with, and no one wants to drive coast to coast to transport Christmas trees, most are bought semi- locally,” Hall said.

With temperatures reaching 117 degrees over the summer, a lot of the seedlings were not able to survive the heat. After the financial crisis of 2008, there was no longer a need to grow an oversupply of Christmas trees. They grew to meet supply and demand. With most of this year’s supply killed off or damaged, local Christmas tree farmers had to resort to cutting down part of next year’s supplies, explaining for the smaller sized Christmas trees. Most of these retailers get their supplies from nearby areas. No one wants to ship Christmas trees coast to cost, so most places, especially the ones that got hit by the hotter temperatures over the summer, are very scarce on trees.

“We grew up all our life using a real tree, we loved everything about them, especially the scent it gives off,” said Matt Feldmann. “With this year’s tree shortage, we have not been able to find a big enough Christmas tree for our living room, so we had to resort to pulling out our old fake tree, something we never used.”

Because of the shortage of trees and the increase in prices, many people have resorted to buying artificial trees so they would not need to continue buying expensive trees, and artificial trees also cannot keep up with the demand. While there was no summer heat to kill them off, more people now than ever are turning to synthetic trees because there are no natural trees to purchase. Unable to meet this demand, along with shortage of sup- plies, and manufacturing and shipping times, and costs almost doubled from the pandemic, prices have skyrocketed. There is no time to manufacture this unexpected number of trees, especially when over half come halfway across the world in China. Some people have even adapted by using something that’s not even a tree.

Art teacher Meta Felt used an alternative from trees.

“We opted for a Costco evergreen arrangement,” Felt said. “You should have seen them flying out the door at Costco!” While Felt’s cause to find an alternative was not due to the tree shortage, many others have sought other, cheaper, more accessible means to replace the sold-out overpriced trees of 2021. With this year being the wake-up call, farmers and manufacturers alike are needing to ramp up supply and prepare for next year’s demand for the beloved Christmas trees.