Climate change stole Christmas.
That’s one takeaway from a July 13 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that reveals one result of Oregon’s increasingly hot summers: more expensive Christmas trees.
Oregon produces the most Christmas trees in the nation. For years, tree growers along the Cascade Range have warned that a seedling shortage, wildfires and dry summers are strangling their harvest.
The USDA report, which compares holiday tree sales in 2015 to those in 2020, confirms that complaint: In five years, the acreage growing Christmas trees dropped 24%, and the total number of trees sold fell 27%.
So tree growers trudged home as penniless as Bob Cratchit? Hardly. They merely increased the price of each tree. In fact, by nearly doubling the average price, from $17.90 to $31.06, Christmas tree purveyors saw gross sales increase 26%, to a healthy $107 million.
Some of those evergreens rose in price faster than others, the USDA report reveals. Every tree just needs a little love, Charlie Brown’s friends told him. But a noble fir? That requires 38 American dollars.