Christmas tree sales are kicking into high gear in Southern Alberta.
“It’s been busy, we’ve only been selling for one week now,” said Karen Barby, co-owner of Green Haven Garden Centre in Lethbridge, Alta.
Last year, it took 10 days to sell out of their supply of 600 trees. This year, they thought bumping up their supply would help, but demand continues to be high.
“There might be about 150 left to sell, so it depends on how we do for the beginning of this week, but I’m pretty sure we might not make it to Saturday,” said Barby.
Tree shortages have affected supply for many stores. As a result, families are making new traditions by cutting down their own.
Erika Bodnaruk, co-owner of Country Mouse Farm, offers a unique self-cut Christmas tree experience in Cypress County.
“You pay for your tree and you get free gingersnaps and hot chocolate, and then you get a wagon ride out to the tree field, you get to cut down your own tree, you can have a helper if you want if you can’t get it cut yourself and then you take a wagon ride back to your area and you get help putting your tree in your vehicle,” said Bodnaruk.
The family-run business opened its doors 10 minutes south of Medicine Hat in 2017.
“We are a pretty small Christmas tree farm so we sell 120 and 150 trees per year,” said Bodnaruk.
The difference in these options is the type of tree you will find.
At garden centres, they can supply trees that don’t typically grown in the Prairies, like the Fraser fir.
At an Alberta tree farm like a Country Mouse, you find heartier options like Spruce and Pine.
Another option is picking up a permit to cut your own on Crown land.
“I think a lot of people enjoy that opportunity to just get out in the outdoors and you know, kind of that process. You can go to a Christmas tree lot and shop for one or you can go down the forest roads and cover miles and miles and look at hundreds and hundreds of trees and to find that perfect tree that you’re looking for,” said Todd Loewen, minister of Forestry and Parks for Alberta.
The free permit can be found on alberta.ca. All it takes is registering for a free permit at alberta.ca, then you have a month to cut up to three trees, 2.5 metres tall or less on designated Crown land.
But no matter the option, it takes care to help your tree last.
“You always want to make sure that you keep the moisture in … So always keep water in your good tree stands so that they always have that water,” said Barby.