By Karen Morfitt
DENVER (CBS4) – Your trip to the Christmas tree lot this year could be met with some sticker shock, thanks in part to a nationwide Christmas tree shortage.
Pete Elliot and his family have been operating Treeland Christmas trees for years. Most recently they set up shop just off of Santa Fe Drive.
“This lot here is the largest one in Colorado,” Elliot said.
This year a portion of their lot is unavoidably vacant.
”That open space is where some of the trees should be, that we haven’t got yet,” Elliot said.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, a 7 to 8 foot tree takes about 10 years to grow.
Doug Hundley, a spokesman for the organization, says if you go back 10 years to 2007 the country was in the beginning of a recession.
“During that year and following, Christmas tree growers did not have the room available because of abnormal harvesting, nor were they making the revenue to plant back the amount they wanted to,” Hundley said.
The result is fewer trees and higher costs today.
Elliot was shocked at the price he paid for his trees.
”There is just no way, how am I going to do this? It took a long time to settle in before I finally pulled the trigger,” he said.
It was a risky decision Elliot made with his customers and his family in mind.
“We’ve been doing this for years and thinking of those customers that bring you cakes and cookies, there’s just a lot of little things that go on that mean more than just the trees and the money. I got to do it,” he said.
The National Christmas Tree Association says consumers will likely see prices go up anywhere from 5 to 10 percent, his best advice is to shop early for the best selection.
Elliot and Hundley agree it is not good news both believe a real tree is still your best option.
“There’s just something about a fresh Christmas tree in your home that just says Christmas,” Elliot said.
Hundley summed it up with the group’s slogan, “It’s Christmas, keep it real!”
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.