Some psychologists say putting up your Christmas decorations early can make you happier, but this year, there's another reason why you should get your decor up soon. There's a decrease in the supply of Christmas trees compared to previous years, and this could mean higher prices.
"If you go back to the 1990s, that was a time when the industry had way too many trees and not enough demand," says Tim O'Connor, executive director of the National Christmas Tree Association. This caused farms to lose money for an entire decade because it takes 10 years for trees to grow to maturity. Once the new crop of trees finally became available, the 2008 recession hit and people were more frugal with their money, which meant they weren't spending cash on Christmas trees. "It was a terrible time," O'Connor says. After years of not turning a profit and wasting unsold trees, growers decided to put fewer seedlings in the ground.
Elizabeth Sallee Bauer/Getty Images
But fast forward to 2019: nationwide, personal income is increasing, the demand for Christmas trees is high, and prices are going up. In 2018, Americans bought a whopping 32.8 million real Christmas trees, which was a 20% increase compared to the previous year, reports the National Christmas Tree Association. According to a survey of about 2,000 adults, the average purchase price per tree was $78 in 2018—a 4% increase from 2017.
Poor weather is also affecting supply in some regions of the country. In Oregon City, Oregon, the Kirchem Farm will be closed this season for the first time in 30 years, according to Fox 12. Cher Tollefson, co-owner of the farm, tells the outlet that hot summers and a seedling scarcity are responsible for the lack of trees. NBC Connecticut also reports sellers in Canada and North Carolina are experiencing a shortage because of poor growing seasons.
Though this year's supply is tight, O'Connor says there's no need to panic. "There will be enough trees for everybody," O'Connor says. He recommends buying a tree the weekend after Thanksgiving when there is still a good inventory. "We don't want consumers to get the wrong message and not go look for a tree because there won't be any," he says. "Go out and shop for your tree, and you'll be able to find one."