Pro-tip: If you’re going to buy a real tree, get them early.
The Christmas tree shortage started to be noticeable last year, but it’s likely to continue into the future. Over at the Atlantic, they cite two specific sources of the problem; the recession from seven years ago and the rise of people buying artificial trees.
During the mid-2000s recession, people were buying fewer trees so farmers were planting smaller crops. It takes years for a tree to grow into maturity and in that time the smaller crops have lead to increased prices. in addition, fake plastic trees have caught on with a lot of people (including my mom) who like them for their relative ease.
Times of short supply stoke existing fears in the farmed Christmas tree industry of its primary competition: faux trees, which more households now put up than real trees. O’Connor attributes fake trees’ popularity to empty nesters who like them for their ease and convenience, as well as younger, environmentally-minded consumers who believe that fake trees are the more responsible choice. (In fact, while both farmed and fake trees have environmental footprints, the debate over which is more sustainable mostly favors real trees. Real trees’ advantage stems from the facts that they capture carbon dioxide while they’re growing, that they are usually shipped regionally as opposed to overseas, and that they’re biodegradable.)
The market for Christmas trees has followed a certain rhythm: A shortage today drives prices up, which induces growers to plant more, the effects of which will be felt in the time it takes for a noble fir to mature. Last time that happened, the market became oversaturated. “I’m sure all growers would agree that that experience is not something we would like to repeat,” Grogan says. He thinks farmers will be more restrained this time around.
So what do you think? Real or plastic trees? Let us know in the comments below.