Fewer Christmas trees shipped to islands this year, stores selling out

If you’ve been driving all over the island just to find a Christmas tree, you’re not alone.

Several stores are down to their last few trees or they’re already sold out.

We checked with the state Department of Agriculture and found out there were several thousand fewer trees shipped to the islands this year.

And if you haven’t bought your Christmas tree yet, you may be going home empty-handed.

“By the end of today, there will be no trees at City Mill,” said manager Frank Suster.

Habilitat’s Angie Parrish said “everywhere is out of trees, especially the bigger ones, so now everybody is coming for the smaller trees.”

We learned there were 24,668 fewer trees shipped to Hawaii this year compared to 2015. The state Department of Agriculture tells KHON2 that 227 containers were shipped last year, but that number dropped to 212 containers in 2016.

And more containers were held for inspection this year than in 2015. All of the shipped trees, however, eventually made it to the islands.

So why were fewer trees brought in? One possibility Suster brings up is that “many of the big box competitors are no longer here, like a couple of the K-Marts closed.”

Suster says City Mill ordered fewer trees this year than the last. “Some years, you bring in too many trees, and then at the end of the year you’re stuck with marking down trees and even throwing some away. This year, we looked at our averages and figured that it would be just the right amount.”

Lowe’s has about 400 Christmas trees left, including plenty of 7-8 footers, but once those are sold, that’s it. No more shipments are coming in.

“I think the past weekend was one of the busiest we had in trees,” store manager Sly Renard said. “Tonight around 4:00-5:00, we’re going to have major traffic, and we have plenty of staff ready to help the people here.”

If you’re scrambling to find a tree, you can still find them at Lowe’s and Home Depot Honolulu, but they’re going fast. Non-profit Habilitat still has trees left at its Kaneohe, Central Union, and Stadium locations. Both Wal-Mart locations in Mililani and Kunia/Waipahu also have a limited selection.

Prices range from $30 up to $110, depending on the size.

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