Looks like Christmas is in short supply. Some families might not be rocking around a Christmas tree this holiday season as supply chains are affecting more than just what you see on the store shelves. Christmas tree buyers are saying there will be fewer trees for trimming this year.
We went to Meadows Farms Nursery to speak with its vice president, Ron Meadows, “Unfortunately, we do have a shortage of trees this year. My order was cut by about 30% from what I wanted to have.” Due to the tree shortage, Meadows said he doesn’t have the inventory of years past and that they will be sold out before Christmas.
And the prices? Yep, due to inflation, they are going to be higher than the chimney tops, Meadows said. “Trees have definitely gone up in prices in the last four years. Our cost has tripled.” When it comes to real trees, two of the nation’s largest growers took a hit due to the West’s record-breaking high temperatures and wildfires.
On the East Coast, demand is also taking trees off the shelves sooner. We spoke with Ricky Hoybach who owns Country Loving Christmas Tree Farm in Leesburg, Virginia. His Christmas tree farm has no problem selling trees. Hoybach said, “The demand is higher for real trees than it’s ever been and a lot of my competition. My local farms have shut down. They are all subdivisions now. They’ve been scrapped. So, a lot fewer farms.”
People have been coming out in droves even during the pandemic for an excuse to get out of the house. Over at Meadows Farms Nursery, Ron Meadows said the same thing, “It’s crazy. We were an essential business, and we were open for customers, and they wanted to get out of their houses, and we had lines out the doors. It’s been amazing.”
While getting trees to sell hasn’t been a problem, finding people to sell them? That’s the real problem. Hoybach also owns a landscaping business and uses the Christmas tree farm to keep his workers employed year-round. “One hundred percent of our advertising is for help wanted. We sell more than we have. So, I don’t need to advertise for business. I just need to advertise for labor,” said Hoybach.
Add on labor shortages and higher trucking prices, no matter if your tree is real or fake, and expect to pay 30% more this year. Shopping early is advised by farmers because there are only so many trees; companies and growers are expecting to run out. “More customers, and they are buying earlier than ever. They all want that 7-to-8-foot tree that’s just not available.” Hoybach’s warning isn’t just for this year but next year, too. “Buy trees early. Next year, don’t wait until Thanksgiving. You want to get your tree? You should buy the weekend before. Definitely by Black Friday. The inventory is going to be really low next year.
Some people are turning to artificial trees, but those are falling victim to supply chain issues as well. Caroline Tuan, the chief operating officer at Balsam Hill, said, “Supply chain has definitely been challenging for the artificial Christmas tree market. We have to bring our products over from our factories, and that has been very challenging. You might have heard about the situation at the ports or the lack of truckers. All of that has impacted us, which means that we have fewer trees to sell as an industry.”
If you are looking to have a very merry Christmas, it’s better to buy early because we are seeing a short supply on Christmas this year.