(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) It’s that time of year again, lights are going up on the outside of homes; shoppers are filling up department stores; and families are putting up their Christmas tree.
Families on the West coast wanting a real tree might have to start shopping a little early for their Christmas trees. Many large tree lots in California are experience a Christmas tree shortage, putting a strain on Christmas tree sales across the country. However, the tree shortage will not affect the St. Joseph tree supply.
Corey Schweizer, co-owner of Schweizer Orchards said the wildfires that spread through California earlier this year are to blame for the lack of Christmas trees.
“There is a shortage out West, mainly because of the fires that happened out there. That in turn brings a lot of shortage to the other guys in Wisconsin and out east to try to fill those voids,” Schweizer said.
Despite the national shortage, Schweizer said their holiday tree sales were up from last year.
St. Joseph tree vendors are still welcoming families that want to support tree sales from midwest farms that grow their own trees.
Colton Zirkle, St. Joseph Tree Lot Manager for Millard Brothers Trees, says picking out the Christmas tree is a big tradition for a lot of families in the area.
“There's a lot of familiar faces to me. Many of these people are repeat customers. They say’ I’ve been coming since I was a kid and I bring my kids,” Zirkle said.
In addition to the families visiting the lots, tree farmers are saying more young people are returning to the tradition of putting up real Christmas trees in their homes.
“We’re seeing in the last few years a lot of younger people coming back to doing that and it is a good sign for our business,” Schweizer said.
With more people bringing home real trees for the first time, vendors are emphasizing safety precautions to first time buyers.
“There are brand new customers that have never come before and this is their first live tree. So, we try to give them tips and pointers on what they need to do to take care of it,” Zirkle said.