Supply chain issues become the new Grinch, causing a Christmas tree shortage

by mcardinal

Lauren Moye, FISM News


The Grinch may not have to worry about shoving Christmas trees up the chimney this year as the classic green villain is not the only antagonist making trees disappear this year. Supply chain issues alongside several major weather events have created a shortage of Christmas trees both far and near.

The American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA) warned months ago that their annual industry forecast predicted a shortage for both real and artificial trees. ACTA Executive Director Jami Warner said, “Every year, we pay close attention to factors impacting the Christmas tree industry so that we can help guide consumers in choosing the right Christmas tree. In 2021, we’re seeing a variety of trends influencing artificial and live Christmas tree supply across the country.”

Warner added, “We hope that every person who wants a Christmas tree will find their perfect tree this year. If I can give one piece of advice to consumers right now, it is to find and buy your Christmas tree early.”

The shortage and supply chain issues are expected to contribute to a rise in tree prices. The ACTA said to expect a 10-30% increase in costs. Retailers of artificial trees, meanwhile, have warned that shipping costs could quadruple this year compared to last.

Several of the factors influencing this shortage are related to weather incidents that the Pacific Northwest experienced this year, including fires, drought, and heatwaves. The impact on tree farmers was catastrophic, with some Oregon farms reporting losses of up to 90% of their crop.

The number one exporter of live Christmas trees, Canada, also experienced crop shortages. Now, most of what remains has been overwhelmed by unprecedented rainfall known as an atmospheric river. Parts of Canada received a month’s worth of rainfall in just two days.

“We can’t ship them because all the roads are closed,” said Arthur Loewen, whose tree farm in Chilliwack is currently underwater, told Reuters. “We’re basically shut down until the water recedes.”

Canada traditionally exports over 2 million trees to the U.S. With their own country’s shortage, those trees will have to be sourced from some other location.

Households seeking an artificial tree this year, are not immune to the shortage either. As trucks and boats struggle to move all the goods needed throughout the country, artificial trees are also in danger from the supply chain crisis.

Courtney Stoops, a biologist teacher from Georgia, said, “It’s a real-life implication of the climate crisis and how dependent we are on crops, especially when you factor in the supply chain issues from overseas. There’s only so many ships or room on ships, and cargo is so backed up.”

Consumers are encouraged to shop online for artificial trees or check with their local real-tree retailers to see if they can reserve some holiday cheer.

But if there is a tree shortage in your own family, remember that the Grinch also learned that “Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we” in Dr. Seuss’s classic Christmas tale.