Some Albertans are taking the fresh Christmas tree shortage into their own hands and cutting their own.
Edmontonian Paul Manning-Hunter and his dad went searching for the perfect, real Christmas tree Tuesday near Lobstick, Alta., after getting a permit.
“I’m just kind of a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas, I like the smell and I just like having a real tree,” Manning-Hunter, said.
“Didn’t bother making the trip (before) since they were so cheap but now you can’t find them, so I was like might as well, fun way to spend the day.”
Albertans can get a free permit from the government to use in a designated forest on crown land.
It entitles you to three trees, 8 feet and under in height.
Manning-Hunter’s two neighbours are getting the other two.
“I want it to be nice and kind of thick and full but it’s find of slim picking right now but we’re here for the adventure so,” Manning-Hunter, said.
The amount of Albertans taking it upon themselves to chop down their own tree for the holidays has more than doubled in the past few years.
In 2018, more than 8,100 got a permit for personal use, in 2019 – 8,353 and in 2020, it climbed to 18,000.
“Last year we saw a massive jump in the number of people who were getting permits to use for personal tree cutting. we’re not sure if it’s a COVID-19 related jump,” Wendy Machan, with Alberta Forestry and Rural Economic Development, said.
The supply is closely monitored by the government and it is illegal to cut without a permit and to sell what you cut.
Manning-Hunter proudly took home a tree he chose and gathered himself, to carry on the family tradition.
“Just feels like Christmas,” Hunter-Manning, said.
To get a personal timber permit, you must be “at least 18 years of age, a resident of Alberta and in good standing with the Crown relating to timber, grazing and land use.”
The shortage on tree lots is due to a dry summer and flooding in B.C.
Tree lots, like the location at Ellerslie Gift and Garden, have hundreds of trees but it’s far less than it usually gets.
You can expect to pay more for a real tree at some locations in Alberta compared to the popular cheaper options, like IKEA, which isn’t selling real Christmas trees in Canada this year due to supply chain issues.