Fears of Christmas tree shortage in North America

Christmas tree

In North America, concerns about COVID-19 seem to have been temporarily displaced by fears of a looming shortage of Christmas trees. Many Americans are worried that their Christmas celebrations will be spoiled due to the lack of a festive tree. The American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA) has now pledged to do everything in its power to ensure that ‘Christmas will not be cancelled’.

According to the British newspaper The Guardian, supplies of both plastic trees and live natural firs are at risk in North America. Artificial trees are normally made in China, but many shipments have been delayed due to being rerouted to the east coast through the Panama Canal due to the problems at US west coast ports.

Approximately 80% of Americans traditionally erect an artificial tree each year, but the shortage of plastic trees is driving demand for live ones. However, various Christmas tree growers were hit by problems with wildfires earlier this year, which has resulted in shortages combined with huge price increases.

Christmas trees in short supply in Canada too

It’s not even an option to source extra Christmas trees from neighbouring Canada, because that country is experiencing a shortage too. In the summer, growers grappled with extremely dry periods followed by floods. Besides that, COVID-19 has created a severe labour shortage. This ‘perfect storm’ of factors has significantly reduced the availability of Christmas trees in Canada this year.

As a result, wholesalers are already struggling to meet retail demand. Normally, Canada’s Christmas tree industry generates $100 million in total sales, with almost half of that coming from exports to the USA.