The early elf gets the tree, and it seems a number of disappointed Australians have missed out as farmers report one of the biggest Christmas tree shortages in decades.
Christmas tree farms all over the country are selling out faster than usual, due in part to international flight restrictions keeping Australians home for the holiday season.
Shoppers have reportedly visited multiple farms in a bid to snag the biggest and best tree, but have left feeling disappointed at the scarcity of available pines.
Neil, who has worked at Dandenong Christmas Tree Farm in Melbourne for 20 years, said it was rare for high demand to cause so many of his competitors to close their doors so soon.
“This is probably the first time that many places have sold out this early,” Neil told The New Daily.
“We would probably blame COVID and people not able to go out as much. Holidays are restricted and a lot has been shut down – that would be the main reason that the demand is a lot higher than it normally is.”
And it’s not just Australian shoppers that are missing out.
The Dandenong Christmas Tree Farm, which has been operational since 1960 and sells wholesale and to various stockists around Melbourne and Victoria, will usually sell out in the second or third week of December.
But in true 2020 form, farmers learned to expect the unexpected.
“Normally, we sell out after [December] 12-16, depending on when the weekend falls,” Neil said.
“This year, a lot of the farms were hit that hard and early that they might have sold out last week, which is definitely at least a week or two earlier than what they would have.”
Given Christmas trees take about four years to reach roughly 2.4 metres (eight feet), suppliers didn’t have time to plant more trees to meet this year’s growing demand, Neil said.
“We have the same number of trees every year, but other farms have run out of supply much quicker than they normally would.”