Since last year, Americans have become acquainted with concepts that this country hasn’t seen in decades. First came the pandemic. America hasn’t dealt with one of those since the killer flu outbreak over a century ago. Then, we saw widespread strikes and shortages in several industries. Within the last year, we’ve seen shortages in everything from toilet paper to airline staff and things don’t look like they’re letting up anytime soon. Now, we’re looking at a Christmas Tree shortage.
The Christmas tree shortage may put a damper on the holiday spirit for some people. However, it’s some small relief to know that this isn’t yet another side-effect of the pandemic. Actually, this shortage has been present for the past few years. It’s just worse than usual this year. Matthew Gallery, owner of Almost Heavenly Christmas Trees in Arlington, Virginia spoke to Fox News about the scarcity of Yuletide trees.
Gallery’s family has been in the business of Christmas cheer for nearly four decades. His father opened Almost Heavenly Christmas Trees in 1982. He told Fox News that the Christmas tree shortage has been going on for “about five or six years,” this year, though, is the worst “by far,” he says.
Fewer Trees, Higher Prices, and Frustration
This year, Gallery said that their primary supplier could only provide them with half of the trees that they needed. So, to prepare for the holiday season, the Virginia-based business owner traveled to Pennsylvania to buy trees at an auction. Unfortunately, auction prices are higher than usual this year. In fact, he ended up paying retail prices for many of the Christmas trees due to the shortage. As a result, consumers are seeing higher prices at Almost Heavenly.
Gallery could probably sum up the Christmas tree shortage with one word, “frustrating.” During the interview, he elaborated on that a bit. “It’s frustrating to have to do all this extra work to find the trees, it’s frustrating to have all of the uncertainty, it’s frustrating to not be able to give all of our customers the high-quality products that we’re used to giving them.”
What Caused the Christmas Tree Shortage?
Gallery said that the Christmas tree shortage might stem from the 2008 financial crisis. Around 2008 some Christmas tree farmers retired amid the uncertainty. Others stopped planting trees for a few years. Now, we’re reaping what farmers didn’t sew all those years ago. It takes an average Christmas tree 8-9 years to grow. So, those missed planting seasons are more evident today than they would have been in previous years.
Additionally, many smaller Christmas tree farms consolidated. Now, their first customers are big-box retailers like Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Walmart. This means small operations like Almost Heavenly or your local Christmas tree retailer only get what the big corporations don’t take.