It might be a bit of a Charlie Brown Christmas this year. The National Christmas Tree Association says there's a national shortage of trees and it could drive prices up 5 to 10%.
The issue stems from 2008 and the Great Recession when demand for trees fell, reports CNBC. That meant fewer trees were chopped down, leaving less room for planting fresh crops. It takes about 10 years for a seed to hit seven or eight feet in height. That's the ideal height for a tree to be harvested and given a slow death covered in lights and tinsel inside a house.
Also adding to the rising cost is the increased price of diesel fuel. At $2.84 per gallon, prices are $.46 higher than this time last year when 27.4 million trees were sold, according to the Association. Those trees cost an average of $74.70 per tree.
But don't abandon all hope of having a perfect Griswold Christmas. "We believe everyone who wants to have a real tree will find one," Doug Hundley, spokesperson for the DC-based National Christmas Tree Association, told CNBC. "They may not have the size they want or they might have to buy a different kind [beacuse] we have a tight market."
However, some tree farmers say the shortage is blown out of proportion. "There's plenty of trees to go around," Jeff Hill of Pennsylvania's Hill Farms told ABC affiliate WNEP 16. "There's going to be spotty shortages. It's going to depend on where you're at. We have 30 wholesale accounts, five states, and everyone got what they wanted, so there's no reason to do anything crazy like go out and buy an artificial tree. There will be trees around."
Hopefully, the shortage doesn't convince any adventurous tree salespeople they should start chopping down the trees in Fangorn Forest. That went very poorly for the last person who tried it.