With Christmas only a few weeks away, people are decorating and getting into the holiday spirit. If you like having a fresh fir during the holiday season, you might have to settle for an artificial one this year. Christmas trees in Canada aren't as easy to find as they used to be and prices are increasing.
You've heard of a potato and french fry shortage, but now there's one of yuletide conifers.
There aren't as many Christmas trees for sale in Canada due to farms shutting down. As a result, prices are going up all over Canada and even across North America.
It actually all traces back to the financial crisis that happened in 2008, which put thousands of Christmas tree farmers in the U.S. out of business resulting in fewer saplings being planted.
Since they take 10 years to grow, we're now starting to feel the effects of what happened in 2008. That U.S. problem is now affecting Canada too.
The Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association had about 300 members 15 years ago, but now it's down to about 80.
On top of the lack of growers, the U.S. is importing Canadian products to make up for their own shortage. That means customers are having to pay even more, not only in Canada but across all of North America.
"As the economics get better for tree growers you’ll see them planting more trees. Unfortunately, you had to have that foresight 10 years ago," said Paul Quinn, an analyst with RBC Dominion Securities, to The Canadian Press.
One farm just outside of Montreal, the Quinn Farm, had to raise its prices by $10 this year.
With price ultimately dependent on quality, species, and height, some can go for more than $75.
That might not sound like a lot of money, but add that to the money spent on gifts and other holiday items, and it starts getting pretty pricey.
Plus, with the real holiday plant, you have to take care of it, on top of having to buy a new one every year.
Jimmy Downey, president of Quebec's Christmas tree producers association, said that if consumers are unwilling to shell out more than last year, they might have to settle for one that’s shorter, scragglier, and not as pretty.
If prices continue to rise or stay high, some people may be looking into an artificial fir or spruce this year. In fact, it's already starting to happen.
According to the New York Times, the rising prices "may have driven some families to make the leap to a manufactured one."
They report that 80% of American families who put up trees are using artificial ones. It's unclear if the numbers are similar for Canada.
With prices increasing and supply low, that trip to the festive fir farm might just be to take Instagram-worthy pictures and then head back home to your artificial fir.