Video: Christmas tree shortage means ‘don’t wait until the last minute’

Austin, Texas (KXAN) — This holiday season, a nationwide Christmas tree shortage could mean you won’t get a tree if you don’t get out and buy one ahead of the crowd. Tree farmers and those who own tree lots are warning that they’re facing severe shortages.

Most years, it can be a little taboo to buy a Christmas tree before it’s even Thanksgiving. But this year – the “can’t wait for Christmas” types have the right idea.

For the first time in Papa Noels’ 37 years of business, owner Jimmy Coan explains a tight economy and less demand for real trees a decade ago hurt the industry.

Coan says, “There’s just not enough Christmas trees to go around. Many farmers in the Northwest went out of business during the recession. We’re seeing the repercussions of trees not going into the ground.”

Coan says he usually ships in a few thousand trees from Oregon and Washington to sell at his six lots around Austin, but with supplies cut this year, he could only get 500.

He’s importing as many others as he can from North Carolina, but he says, “Everyone in the market is gonna run out of trees this year.”

Even though his lot is full of trees today, Coan says by the end of the week it could be looking more sparse, because people are catching wind of the shortage.

“On some locations we probably will not have enough trees to get through Monday.”

“Don’t wait until the last minute.”

Coan also says the wholesale price of trees from the Northwest went up nearly 50 percent this year due to the shortages.

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