O Christmas Tree Shortage

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Over the past few weeks, media outlets have reported that holiday consumers should expect a shortage of Christmas trees this year due to the supply-chain crisis, climate change and the trees themselves refusing to re-enter the workforce after becoming addicted to Netflix and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although I believe the reports (along with everything else I read on Facebook), I haven’t felt the impact of the shortage myself. In fact, I just recently upgraded to a 9 ft. artificial Christmas tree from Hobby Lobby for 50% off­­ – and I only ruptured two major organs (and an air bag) cramming it into my wife’s compact vehicle because she drove our SUV to work that day.

My family has always decorated with artificial Christmas trees. In fact, we’ve been displaying the same artificial pencil-style Christmas trees in our home for the past decade or so because we’re all about sustainability – and, according to Facebook, buyers in past years have brought home real trees that are accidentally accessorized with live woodland animals like hawks, owls, snakes and raccoons.

A family in Australia even found a live koala in their Christmas tree – and not the stuffed version with the Velcro paws.

Although it might actually be kind of neat to find one of these critters in a Christmas tree, I’m pretty sure that my three teen daughters would insist on trying to keep the stowaway wildlife as pets – and I would (as usual) somehow be placed in charge of dropping removal.

Seriously, though, I was raised on artificial Christmas trees. My earliest memories from childhood in the 1970s are of a solid white tree in the family living room. It was decorated with bright red balls, matching tinsel, and ornaments shaped like candy that I couldn’t resist sampling – repeatedly hoping that the next bite might taste like something other than asbestos.

We also occasionally trimmed a tree with ornaments that my big brother and I had made – when he didn’t have me in a headlock. Several of these decorations were the kind that displayed our elementary school portraits, most of mine featuring a hairstyle from my embarrassing chili-bowl period.

My grandmother had one of those state-of-the-art silver aluminum trees decked out with metallic blue decorations. It looked like it either belonged in Studio 54 or with Mr. Spock on the main bridge of the Starship Enterprise, which – for fledgling geeks like my brother and me – made Christmas at her house even more “fascinating.” (See what I did there?)

So, this holiday season we’ll carry on our tradition with a brand new discounted artificial Christmas tree that I’ll dread taking down sometime in late February.

I do feel a little sad that I won’t be making my yearly death-defying trip up the attic ladder to retrieve our old pencil trees in their boxes – if you could even call them boxes anymore. They’re really just geological formations of petrified duct tape holding together what once could have been described as cardboard. I think I might just leave them up there permanently for my three daughters to discover someday when I’m gone – and give them one last reason to be annoyed with me.

Despite the possible Christmas tree shortage, my hope is that you and your family are able to enjoy this wonderful holiday season when we share gifts with our loved ones to celebrate the Lord’s most miraculous gift to us all.

And if you do manage to bring home a live tree this year, may you enjoy its natural beauty, revel in its fresh scent, and check under it periodically for koala droppings.

Copyright 2021 Jase Graves distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at [email protected].

Jase Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. He is also a frequent contributor to The Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop, which named him Writer of the Month for June of 2017, and he has served as a judge in the Erma Bombeck/Anna Lefler Humorist in Residence program.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists says, "Whether he's breaking down the common types of yard sale denizens ('The Lingerer . . .she was here so long, I'll probably be able to claim her on my next tax return') or sharing cautionary tales of mattress shopping, Jason flays suburban life with a sharp wit. Shopping for his daughter's swimsuits, he wonders if he has 'strayed into the first aid section and . . .was looking at a new line of colorful ACE bandages.'"

Other than writing, his hobbies include berating the television when the Texas A&M Aggie football team is playing and sleeping as late as possible.