Ole Holm, a Christmas tree grower in western Denmark, is planning a deer-hunting trip to Scotland as a tree shortage allows him to charge an average of 20 percent more for his evergreens this year.
"We'll use the extra money to sweeten our existence a little," said Holm, 55, who expects this to be the best holiday season since he started selling trees from his farm in Oestervraa 15 years ago. "It'll be good times."
Danish growers, Europe's biggest Christmas tree exporters, are raising prices by as much as 25 percent for the country's Nordmann firs, coveted for their long-lasting, soft needles, said Kaj Oestergaard, director of the Danish Christmas Tree Growers' Association.
....Tree farmers like Holm cut back on planting almost a decade ago, when a glut caused prices to slump.
That has led to a dearth of trees today. At the same time, demand has risen in eastern Europe, where consumers are buying higher-quality imported Christmas trees as economic growth fuels spending.
"The Eastern Europeans are getting wealthier and upgrading to the Nordmann," said Claus Jerram Christensen, a senior consultant at the Danish growers' association in Frederiksberg, a suburb of Copenhagen. "We expect China will be next."