Christmas tree shortage leads to higher prices

CHICAGO (WLS) -- For some families, Black Friday shopping included the hunt for a perfect Christmas tree. But fresh Christmas trees are in short supply this year - and prices have gone up.

The issue has its roots in the economic recession a decade, when restricted budgets kept consumers from buying trees. Slow sales in 2007 lead growers to plant fewer trees.

"It takes a long time for a Fraser fir or some other kind of tree to get up to size," said Gethsemane Garden Center owner Regas Chefas. "It's usually somewhere between nine or ten years."

The tree shortage will likely continue through 2025.

Chefas said he put his tree orders in early this year for his Andersonville business. He does not expect to come up short.

"We went to another place and they were really expensive, but they're a good deal here," said Gethsemane shopper Dexter Ellis.

The Gaito family decided to go tree shopping Friday to avoid missing out.

"It was a good tree for our family because we are inviting some people over to our house for Christmas, and it's bigger, so we'll have enough room," said Miles Gaito of the tree his family selected.

Next weekend is expected to be the busiest time of the season for Christmas tree shopping.
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