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Christmas Tree Shortage May Scrooge Up Holidays, Trade Group Says

Flooding, fires, drought and supply chain woes could drop a tannenbaum on holiday plans if consumers don't hustle.

Oh, Christmas tree, oh Christmas, we'll have to pay more bucks for thee…

A shortage of Christmas trees and rising inflation could have consumers humbugging out as they scramble to find one the most beloved fixtures of the holiday season.

Prices are climbing due to extreme weather events in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest, supply chain congestion in and out of ports, and shipping container shortages, according to the  American Christmas Tree Association, an industry trade group.

The economic instability caused by COVID-19 hasn't helped either, the group said.

Consumers will be feeling the grinch as the cost of live trees has nearly doubled compared with 2015 prices, the group said. Artificial Christmas tree retailers have reported having to raise prices 20%-30% this season.

These challenges mean that there will be fewer live and artificial Christmas trees available this year, and those that are available will cost more than before.

“It’s a double whammy — weather and supply chain problems are really hampering the industry,”  Jami Warner, the association's executive director, told the Associated Press “Growers have been hard hit by floods, fires, smoke, drought, extreme weather conditions.”

In Indiana, Pennsylvania, which claims the title of "Christmas Tree Capital of the World." Indiana County Christmas Tree Growers Association President Gregg Van Horn predicted the smaller crop this year could drive prices up by as much as 30%, according to People.

"In the early 1960s there were about 200 tree farms," Van Horn said. "Now there are just five or six of us."

While the Christmas tree association said the majority of U.S. consumers will be able to find the perfect tree, this is most definitely not the year to look for last-minute deals or wait for a retailer sale -- unless you want put the lights and tinsel on your coat rack.

"Plan ahead, and buy early," the group urged.