First, it was Thanksgiving turkeys, and now it's artificial Christmas trees. As legendary Saturday Night Live character Roseanne Rosannadanna used to say, "It just goes to show you, it's always something. If it ain't one thing, it's another." Yes, it is, Roseanne, and this year's worsening supply chain crisis could send prices soaring for fake Christmas trees.

Consumer Reports is advising its readers to buy now if they plan to deck the imitation balsam fir or face potential price increases of as much as 26 percent higher than last year in some markets. Jami Warner, Executive Director of the American Christmas Tree Association, a trade group that represents the artificial Christmas tree industry, told the publication that the average artificial Christmas tree cost $104 in 2019. The same tree could cost you about $131 this year. 

Most artificial Christmas trees are made in China. Shipping cost increases, labor shortages, weather, and other factors have contributed to potential product shortages and higher prices.

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Consumer Reports suggested putting off the purchase of an artificial tree for a couple of years until prices stabilize and buy a real tree this year. Those I have spoken to locally, however, tell me shipping issues could limit the supply of real Christmas trees and drive up prices around these parts. 

So once again, "It just goes to show you, it's always something. If it ain't one thing, it's another." What say we just ditch the decorations and skip right to the eggnog portion of our program? Unless, of course, there is a shortage of eggs – or worse yet, of nog! 

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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