Christmas Chaos

Sold out Fingerlings, one of 2017’s most popular toys, are only one of several contributions to the frenzy of the holiday season.

USA Today

Sold out Fingerlings, one of 2017’s most popular toys, are only one of several contributions to the frenzy of the holiday season.

Caitlyn Truong, Photojournalist

Lights are twinkling, snow is falling, the smell of peppermint is filling the air; the holidays are drawing near and are followed closely by the frenzy of the season. From stressed parents scrambling to find the perfect present for their children to the packed airport of travelers trying to get home to their loved ones, the joys of the holiday season are also riddled with tension and mishaps.

This year in particular witnessed especially alarmed families desperate to find Christmas trees in the midst of a significant national shortage. According to the New York Times, prices of Christmas trees have nearly doubled within the past decade, from an average cost of $41 per tree in 2009 to $75 per tree in 2016. Farmers have reported losses in trees available for sale due to wildfires, years of drought, and most notably the financial crisis of 2008. By 2017, nearly a decade later, the effects are still felt by families forced to purchase incredibly expensive trees or settle for an artificial tree. Taylor Tran (10), a fan of living trees rather than replicas, commented, “My family had to buy a tree earlier than normal this year because we heard there would be less shipments than usual. It was a little more expensive than last year, but it’s worth the smell of real pines.”

The holiday madness continues for parents behind on their present shopping as the most popular toys of the year are rapidly bought out and resold at extremely inflated prices online. Colorful clinging plastic monkey figurines called Fingerlings are one of 2017’s most popular toys but can no longer be found at Toys R Us, Walmart, or Target, according to the Seattle Times. Instead, sellers on Amazon and eBay use computer bots to buy out large quantities of the products and offer them for triple their original price. Frustrated customers such as Thomas Barry have taken to social media to complain, “[I’m] trying to find some Fingerlings for a family member and everywhere I go, they’re sold out! [I’ve] been to 20+ stores!”

While the festivities of December are associated with joy and merriness, it can also be a stressful and anxious time. From increased Christmas tree prices to toy shortages, there are endless opportunities for setbacks during the pursuit for the perfect holiday season. While material objects provide for a joyful holiday, it is important to remember that what constitutes importance is spending time with loved ones and spreading generosity.