How to Avoid the Great Christmas Tree Shortage of 2017

published Nov 30, 2017
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: mentlastore)

If you’re the type of holiday decorator for whom it’s a real tree or none at all, then get thee to the nearest nursery, stat. Experts are predicting a Christmas tree shortage this year, thanks to the impact of the Great Recession on tree farms starting nearly a decade ago.

The National Christmas Tree Association told People this week that there will definitely be a definite shortage of trees this year, which will also make your Christmas traditions slightly more costly, too — up to 10 to 15 percent price increases in some areas, due not only to the shortage itself but to transporting existing trees amid rising gas prices.

As USA Today explains, Christmas tree sales dropped in 2008 (thanks to the Great Recession) and growers didn’t cut down as many trees as they normally would because there just wasn’t the demand — leaving less room to plant seedlings, which take nearly 10 years to hit that ideal Christmas tree height of between 7 to 8 feet.

Now, most Fraser Fir tree farms are now facing a shortage — of the more than 200 tree farms Southern Living sources contacted last week, nearly all were already sold out of trees between 5- and 8-feet tall for the season.

Buy early

Even if you can find a real tree in the height that you want, Good Housekeeping reports that you are most definitely going to be dealing with an increased markup — unless you get out there early. My husband and I took advantage of our co-op’s Black Friday sale last week and picked up a 5-foot Fraser Fir tree for just $29.99 (regularly $39.99), and there are still deals to be had for the early bird decorator. (Just be extra vigilant about watering your tree in order to avoid fire hazards.)

Get shorty

Minimalism ain’t just for the rest of the house: it’s totally fine, and maybe even preferred, to be more diminutive with your holiday decor. Trees under five feet are a far cry from a Charlie Brown tree, and better suit smaller spaces anyway. If you elevate the tree and stand on top of a solid wood box or small table (like the old standby IKEA Lack), and surround with an extra large tree skirt, you might not even be able to notice the difference. You may keep your pets from breaking/eating any of your ornaments this year, too.

Try rosemary, or a pineapple

Evergreens shouldn’t have all the fun: potted herbs like rosemary, topiaries, and yes, even pineapples make for festive holiday decor once dressed for the occasion. Consider this a creativity challenge and think outside the fragrant evergreen box.

Go faux

They may not be organic, or have that nostalgic and seasonal bouquet, but fake Christmas trees are also a lot less hassle. And these 13 favorite artificial trees range from triple-take real to full-on fabulous.

For everything else you need to know before heading out to find the perfect Christmas tree for your home this year, check out Design Editor Arlyn Hernandez’s Christmas Tree Buying Guide.