This year customers may want to head to the Christmas tree lot a little earlier as a tree shortage is hitting the entire country.
The trees at Papa Noel are 1,000 miles away from where they first sprouted. “We have farms in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina,” said Jimmy Coan, owner of Papa Noel Christmas trees.
This year, however, the pickings could be a bit scarcer.
“I've seen the selection is not what it used to be,” said Roxanne Varner who picks out her tree the day after Thanksgiving each year.
The shortage stems from a lack of planting during the recession, when many farmers were forced out of business. “So with trees not going in the ground in 2008 and 2009, all of a sudden now, ten years later, we don't have trees,” Coan said.
While this is the first year customers will notice less options in their neck of the woods, it could be four or five more years before the Christmas tree supply meets current demand.
“Bear in mind that a Christmas tree takes 10-15 years to grow,” said Coan.
As the number of trees making the cut each year shrinks, customers should expect to see a difference on price tags too.
“Wholesale prices from the Pacific Northwest have gone up 50 percent,” Coan said.
For anyone who could be left pining for a real live Christmas tree, the best advice is to start tree shopping early. “Austin's going to run out of real Christmas trees, so just don't wait till the last minute,” said Coan.