Retailers are warning about a potential Christmas tree shortage this year

Want a real Christmas tree this year? There may not be enough going around, retailer warns

Leading retailers are warning that Christmas 2021 may see a shortage of the key element of the festive season – the Christmas tree. We've seemingly seen it all this year, from garden furniture shortages to a shortage of lorry drivers. Now, it's the nation's most significant holiday that may be in trouble.

Real Christmas trees are important to many who celebrate Christmas, but there may not be enough to go around this year. Christmas tree retailer warns of a potential shortage of Christmas trees, due to several reasons.

New rules and rising costs

The first is the new importing regulation that are making bringing fir trees into the UK from popular destinations like Scandinavia more difficult. The labour market responsible for growing and cutting trees has also been affected, with shortages reported at all stages of the Christmas tree growing process, from tree care to harvesting.

christmas tree with green grass and white wild flowers

(Image credit: Douglas Sacha/Getty)

Finally, the prices for raw materials needed to grow and transport trees have increased substantially, doubling in some cases. Wood for pallets, labour, fertiliser, labels, transport – these are just some of the elements of getting Christmas trees to us that have become more expensive. While haulage costs have increased, there’s also a real nervousness about the ability to actually obtain lorries, one supplier said 'It’s crazy, haulage is up 20% to 60%, and we don’t even know if we will get them.'

Be prepared for the shortage

christmas tree with decorating items and red balls hanging from tree

(Image credit: Tim Macpherson/Getty)

According to The British Christmas Tree Growers Association between eight and 10 million real Christmas trees are sold in the UK each year, and it is estimated that the UK usually imports between one million and three million of those Christmas trees each year from countries elsewhere in Europe.

Mark Rofe who owns the online Christmas tree retailer said: 'We’ve spoken to our UK growers and they are all facing the same challenges. They are seeing an increase in demand for their product, especially from clients who would usually import their trees from Europe, but are keen to avoid any red-tape that could increase costs or cause delays for what is of course a highly seasonal and time-sensitive business.'

If you want a real Christmas tree this year, you'll need to do your research early, as there very likely won't be enough to go around. You may have better luck renting a Christmas tree grown locally, if a rent-a-tree scheme covers the area where you live.

Anna Cottrell is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.