The 2021 holiday season began with admonishments that this holiday season might be the most expensive one yet. The public was warned that there might not be enough turkeys due to supply chain issues, and, if one could find a proper turkey, the price was certain to be more than in Thanksgivings past.
The public was also warned that not only might there be a shortage of Christmas trees, but they could be costly should a consumer be able to find one.
While the supply chain is still rather contentious, Americans who might not have celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving with their families are looking to rekindle their family traditions. Some of those traditions include selecting a family Christmas tree.
Christmas tree retailer Balsam Hill noted in October and early November that getting a tree from their normal suppliers this year would be difficult with the supply chain woes on West Coast ports. However, not only are artificial Christmas trees in high demand, so are natural trees. The increased demand is going to drive the price higher, and consumers will definitely see this as they shop for a family tree this year.
In Pollock Pines, California, Christmas trees are grown in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada by a few different farmers. These farms in particular were threatened by the Caldor Fire, which rapidly moved through parts of California, but they managed to open for business this holiday season.
Only one problem remains – the demand for Christmas trees (both artificial and natural) is higher than ever before. Of course, higher demand on a smaller supply will always cause the price to rise.
Pamela Harris, one of the tree farmers in California, laments: “We’ve had an increase in customer demand. It’s kind of happened over the years, more and more people are getting out into the country and cutting their own tree.”
Harris works at the Harris Tree Farm, and has since the business opened about sixty years ago. Harris states that the farm has some loyal customers, most within the state of California, but some will drive from neighboring states in order to get a natural tree at their establishment. The Harris Tree Farm also offers homemade baked goods as well as natural Christmas trees which customers are allowed to choose and cut down themselves. However, this year, the Harris Tree Farm has had to set a limit on how many trees can be cut down as the demand for real trees has grown significantly.
According to Doug Hundley of the National Christmas Tree Association, one tree requires at least ten years in order to grow to the proper size most families desire in a Christmas tree. Hundley was a tree farmer for over thirty years, and he points to one major demographic as the cause for higher demand. Hundley says more millennials are buying real trees as opposed to artificial ones, which is causing the increase in demand.
Besides the increased demand in trees by this one demographic, recent weather phenomena also affect the amount of trees available for harvesting. Both the aforementioned wildfires in California and unseasonable weather have affected the amount of trees available for customers.
However, Hundley reminds customers that although real Christmas tree prices are up, there are more than enough real trees for the 2021 holiday season.
The price of a real Christmas tree is up about ten percent this year, with the price of artificial trees up about thirty percent from 2020. This is due to the shipping delays that companies such as Balsam Hill are experiencing.