I began to notice people carting away Christmas trees this year right after Thanksgiving. It was very noticeable. It was as though they were waiting for that last piece of pumpkin pie to be digested so that they could get to the tree lot.
Many people have moved up to the Hudson Valley these last few months, the part of New York state that I live in for half the year. With a change in demographics, a big bump up in population, I thought this might be a problem. I just had no idea that the trees would be virtually gone by the first weekend in December. Traditionally, I don’t put up our tree until the middle of the month, being in no rush to take the time to position the thing in the stand (always a fight waiting to happen as to whether it’s straight or not!) Then there’s the decorating, the lights, the wrapping of presents. Even though I have two grown daughters and no grand children, I take on Christmas the same way I always have. I revel in it’s traditions, I love the smell of pine when you first bring the tree into the house, the aroma of cookies baking in the oven and candles lit on the mantle.
Back to the Christmas trees. I thought about why there should be a shortage of trees so early in the season and the reason became clear. People were seeking something, anything to bring joy into their lives. The cover of Time magazine was recently entitled “The Power of JOY–Elevate your life. Finding Joy in Trying Times. A Spiritual Peak. If that didn’t say it all, I don’t know what did. We are social creatures, we want and need connection. We yearn to interact, to celebrate, to entertain, to be surrounded by people we care about, especially at holiday time, most especially now in this year of all years!
The buying of the Christmas trees so early was just what people needed to do and they did it early and in big numbers. Lots and farm stores told me that they were having their best year in decades! They only wished they had more trees to sell.
An article in The Wall Street Journal talked about eight foot Christmast trees in Hong Kong going for as much as $2,167 a pop. Who knew this phenomena was global! At that price, I’d go fake!
Apparently, a Christmas tree takes between 8-12 years to grow says an owner of one such farm in Oregon. He estimated that the smaller supply had increased prices by 30% over the last four years. So, it’s not in your imagination. These Christmas trees have become a luxury not all can afford.
With that in mind, after exhausting ACE Hardware and Loew’s, last ditch effort, I persuaded my very reluctant husband to go chopping with me in the Berkshires. On a beautiful Sunday, mid 50’s in temperature, incredibly mild for mid December, with saw in hand we climbed a hill and found our perfect tree. It was befitting of a Norman Rockwell scene. An experience to remember and a tree that will grace our home for the next couple of weeks until I sadly have to take it down.
Be resilient. Be creative. Don’t let the economics of Christmas trees ruin your holiday.
For once, it wasn’t the Grinch who had anything to do with this scarcity. It was simply people searching early for “joy” ( I ought to know. I’ve been living with this name for a lot of years!
Enjoy the ride
xox Barclay & Joy