US

Nation Faces Christmas Tree Shortage As Holiday Season Continues

REUTERS

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Alex Christy Contributor

Americans planning on propping up and decorating a Christmas tree in their homes could be paying more than usual for the real thing due to an apparent shortage.

The leading cause of the shortage comes from the 2008 recession when consumers spent less during the Christmas season because of the economic downturn, according to the Miami Herald.

In response, fewer trees were planted, and with an increase in consumer interest during the 2018 season, prices are rising, USA Today reported. The trees can take up to a decade to grow. (RELATED: ‘Christmas From Hell’: Critics Mock Melania’s Christmas Decorations For Second Straight Year )

Oregon, the country’s largest Christmas tree exporter, saw the number of licensed tree growers fall from 699 to 392 between 2010 and 2017, according to USA Today.

In addition to the recession, wildfires and droughts adversely impacted tree growing in 2017, The New York Times reported. The hurricane season has had an impact for 2018 as well.

A couple searches for a Christmas tree at a farm in McMinnville, Oregon, November 25, 2017. REUTERS/Natalie Behring

The shortage and price hikes hit smaller sellers hard, and some consumers are switching to plastic.

“$130? Jesus Christ. I thought $85 was a lot. Maybe it’s time for a plastic tree,” one shopper told the Miami Herald before heading to the Home Depot after seeing the prices at a small supplier.

Those making the switch are not alone, as the demand for real Christmas trees has fallen considerably over recent years. A survey by Nielsen on behalf of the American Christmas Tree Association in 2013 found 80 percent of American households use artificial trees.

The price of an artificial Christmas tree varies greatly — between around $30 to over $600 — on the Home Depot website depending on the desired specifications.

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