MASSACHUSETTS — A national Christmas tree shortage that started last year is continuing into the 2021 holiday season, and this year is likely to be worse than 2020.
Last year, with people homebound for the holidays, was a record year for Christmas tree sales. That forced suppliers to cut and ship trees that normally would have been given another year to grow. While an expected increase in holiday travel may cut into last year’s record demand, Christmas tree sellers are now dealing with record-low supply.
In an interview with NBC 10 Boston, Dave Morrin, owner of Arrowhead Acres in Uxbridge, compared this year’s Christmas tree rush to the rush on toilet paper at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. He and most other Massachusetts Christmas tree sellers have been forced to raise prices.
“There is panic buying going on right now, like the toilet paper situation,” Morrin said. “We try and hold the line as much as we can, but everything else is going up.”
The other reason you’re going to pay more for a Christmas tree this year: high gas prices, meaning shipping costs have more than tripled in the past three years
“The trucking is crazy,” said Nino Lambert of Lambert’s in Westwood told NBC 10. “It was like, $800 three years ago; it is almost $2,500 now to get a load of trees here.”
Last year, Lambert’s ran out of Christmas trees during the first week of December. This year, the Lamberts ordered and paid for their 2021 Christmas tree supply in January — a luxury some smaller sellers do not have.
“A lot of the smaller guys can’t do money up front,” Lambert told the Boston Globe in a separate interview. “A lot of the businesses around me aren’t going to open for Christmas trees this year.”
If you want to cut down your Christmas tree, Massachusetts farms recommend doing it this weekend, as many expect to be closed for the season by Monday, if not sooner. Customers of Ingraham Christmas Tree Farm in Georgetown took to the farm’s Facebook page to bemoan the limited supply.
“They’ve gotten so popular that everyone scoops up all their trees on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It’s sad for those of us who like to wait until December,” one customer wrote on Facebook. “We’re in the minority, unfortunately. It’s become like an arms race to get your tree as early as possible. “
Because so many farms had to cut into the 2021 supply in 2020, you can expect smaller trees and fewer choices this year. Other farms, like Ferjulian Farm in Hudson, aren’t opening at all this season. It’s the first time in 30 years Ferjulian Farm has not opened to sell Christmas trees
“It’s a tough business to be in,” Erin Frejulian told the Globe.