Not to dampen your Christmas spirits, but you might have a harder time finding the perfect tree for your living room this holiday season. Canada’s facing an ongoing Christmas tree shortage because of increasing demand and unfavourable weather conditions over the past several years.

Shirley Brennan, The Executive Director of The Canadian Christmas Tree Association, told Curiocity that the festive tree industry has exploded from coast to coast, going from a $53 million industry to $100 million in just the past 5 years.

With more young people, new immigrants, and multigenerational families buying real Christmas trees than ever before, Canada’s growers are struggling to keep up with demand, especially after a few bad weather events took a toll on their crop.

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“Mother Nature has not been kind, and we rely on Mother Nature,” said Brennan. “It takes 10 to 12 years to grow a Christmas tree […] If I’m looking at a tree that takes 12 years to grow, and Mother Nature, for 3 of those years was not kind to me, that’s put back my growing season as well.”

Brennan said that severe frost in June 2018 in Nova Scotia, forest fires in Fort McMurray, and extreme heat in BC have impacted not just the seedlings but also the mature trees, leading to a smaller crop. These effects are felt all across the country as provinces import and export trees of all varieties every year.

Because the Prairies have very few Christmas tree farms, provinces like Manitoba are getting hit especially hard by the shortages, Brennan explained.

Brennan added that the cost of trees has gone up not just because of the increased demand, but also because of the growing costs to run a Christmas tree farm during the pandemic.

Despite all of this, Brennan says you can still get a great tree for the holidays this year while supporting local farms — it just might not be the same size and variety that you’re used to.

“Come out to a farm, enjoy the experience, and you might have to step out of your comfort zone […] and experience all of the wonders that a Christmas tree farmer can offer you because there are more than just that one tree.”