If you already set out to buy a Christmas tree this year, you might have found it difficult to track one down.
Or, if you did find the perfect tree, it might have cost more than you remember paying in years past.
You’re not imagining it, and you’re not alone.
It turns out there’s a bit of a Christmas tree shortage, which in turn, might drive prices up by 5 to 10 percent, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
It sounds like the premise for a Hallmark holiday movie, but it’s true.
The problem actually started back in 2008, when the economy took a turn for the worse, spawning what would become known as the Great Recession. As people were faced with tough economic times, they just didn’t have it in their budget for “extra” expenses, and that included Christmas trees. Demand for Christmas trees fell, which led growers to cut down fewer trees. That, in turn, left less room to plant seedlings.
Because a tree takes about 10 years to reach the typical desired height of about seven to eight feet tall, the trees that would have been planted back then have not materialized.
Before you resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to have a Charlie Brown-esque Christmas tree this year, know that there’s still hope.
“We believe everyone who wants to have a real tree will find one,” Doug Hundley, the National Christmas Tree Association’s spokesperson told CNBC. “They may not have the size they want or they might have to buy a different kind (because) we have a tight market.”
Other factors that are compounding the problem include the increased price of diesel fuel, which is driving up the cost of shipping, as well as the fact that there are fewer growers than there were before the recession because many went out of business.
Still, it seems like as long as you adjust your expectations, you should be able to score a great Christmas tree that will get everyone in the holiday spirit. Besides, it’s all about how you decorate it anyway, right? Happy tree hunting!