Christmas without a Christmas tree? Experts urging consumers to buy earlier due to possible shortages

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Extreme weather along the west coast, including fires and heat waves, have impacted Christmas tree crop. Some Oregon farmers have lost up to 90% of their trees this summer, and a few local carriers rely on those farms and are pivoting to be able to provide this Christmas.

Habilitat is already making adjustments to its Christmas tree order.

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“There was some damage created by the high heat that happened this year, especially some of the grand furs are going to be in short supply and some of the noble furs might be a little bit smaller than people are used to seeing,” said Becky Harrison, Habilitat marketing director.

The nonprofit organization is still expecting to bring in 5,000 trees for its annual sale. Meanwhile, Paula Tajiri, owner of Christmas Hawaii, is relieved after checking on her crop in Washington.

“Luckily our contracted farm has little damage so it didn’t really affect us too much,” said Tajiri.

For local growers like Hamakua Christmas Tree Forest on Hawaii Island, they’re already selling to accommodate the impacts from mainland farms.

“You can tag a tree, you can pay for it and put a tag on it, and then come back and get it in a month or so when you actually want it,” said Richard Bradwell, owner of Hamakua Christmas Tree Forest. “That way you can guarantee getting a tree without having to worry about it later. That seems to be where everybody’s worried about, that the trees wouldn’t be available.”

According to the American Christmas Tree Association, last year 94 million households celebrated with a live tree. Helemano Farms saw the huge demand, which is now affecting its 2021 crop.

“Last year, most of this year’s crop was harvested,” said Aaron O’Brien, owner of Helemano Farms. “It was very busy and opposite of what we thought it was going to be.”

Experts are advising shoppers to get their trees earlier this year and to be flexible.

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“There’s really nothing that we can do about the weather and the fires and the heat, so try to be happy,” Harrison said. “We’re doing the best that we can do, but we’re going do our best to get you the tree that is going to make your home beautiful for the holiday.”

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