Christmas tree prices are surging as suppliers are struggling to meet demand. Supply chain issues, extreme weather and a growing shortage of truck drivers amid fears of mass firings due to Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate has led to higher prices for both real and artificial trees. Tree prices have spiked upwards of 30%, industry officials told the AP.
June Wildfires took a heavy toll on Christmas tree farms in Washington and Oregon, two of the nation’s top growers. Since Christmas trees take an average of ten years to grow, the crop losses will likely stretch into future seasons.
“It’s a double whammy — weather and supply chain problems are really hampering the industry,” said Jami Warner, executive director of the American Christmas Tree Association, an industry trade group, told the Associated Press. “Growers have been hard hit by floods, fires, smoke, drought, extreme weather conditions.”
A growing shortage of truck drivers is also contributing to the surging price of Christmas trees. This has driven up the price of both real and artificial trees alike. The situation has the potential to significantly worsen as President Biden’s federal vaccine mandate looms.
American Trucking Association President Chris Spear recently revealed that 37% of the association’s 37,000 drivers would not subject to a COVID vaccine under any circumstances.
Spear went on to say that a loss of just 3.7% of truck drivers would lead to “catastrophic” supply chain failures nationwide.
“Let’s just say 3.7%, not 37% were to actually leave rather than get the vaccine. That would be catastrophic. We’re already short 80,000, that would inflate it to a quarter-million,” Spear told U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA).
Caroline Tuan, chief operating officer for Balsam Hill, an online retailer of artificial Christmas trees, said they have had to raise prices by about 20 percent this year. “We have to bring our products over from our factories (in China), and that has been very challenging,” Tuan told the AP.
Christmas tree shortages and price hikes gave been expected for weeks, as have general shortages of holiday-related goods.
“There will be things that people can’t get,” a senior White House official reportedly told Reuters back in October.