Jose Carlos Fajardo
As thousands of Bay Area families prepare to purchase their “perfect Christmas tree,” many may be shocked by the stickered prices on every tree.
Prices for Christmas trees have shot up recently, which is greatly connected to the Great Recession of 2007. During that time, families affecting by the recession had bought significantly fewer Christmas trees, resulting in less money racked in by Christmas tree growers.
Considering Christmas trees only grow about a foot a year, the effects of the Recession on Christmas trees are only beginning to be seen today
“It is truly a shortage,” said Shelly Holloway, whose family runs Honey Bear Trees in San Mateo and Redwood City as quoted by the Mercury News.
Honey Bear has tried to keep its prices down in recent years, but the shortage of trees has forced them to increase prices, with some trees even over $100.
All 50 states grow Christmas trees, but Oregon is the number one provider for trees and their lack of trees has significantly affected quantity and pricing of Christmas trees significantly.
“We buy a tree every year and spend near $80 on it. I personally think that is on the expensive side, but I feel comfortable paying that much because the money goes straight to our church,” said Jack Luttringer, sophomore.
Some Christmas tree farms were also affected by the five-year drought in California that ended last winter. The lack of water weakened the trees and stunted their growth.
Many sellers have gone with the route of importing trees from down south, specifically places like Texas and Lousiana. With the recent hurricanes that had ravaged the areas, the shipments were significantly delayed.
While around 27 million Christmas trees are used in homes every year, about 40% of those are artificial trees which can be used for multiple years, causing even fewer Christmas trees to be purchased.
As a result, many sellers of Christmas trees have had to increase prices anywhere from $5 to $15.
Managing Christmas tree growth is not a job in which someone can just water it and then just idle around. There is a lot of grooming necessary to keep trees looking how many want them to look. Grooming Christmas trees takes a lot of manual labor.
“I haven’t noticed Christmass tree pricing raising in recent years, but if they are, I’m okay with it as long as they are not gouging people,” said Luttringer.
In Oregon, there is a much less intensive alternative option: growing marijuana – an option that will soon be available to California tree farmers as well.