A Cut your own Christmas Tree Guide

16 'Must Know' tips to make your family trip to the

Christmas Tree Farm a better experience

With a little knowledge and preparations a family day to the Christmas tree farm can become an anticipated annual tradition. As soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over, the kids will be asking "When are we going to go cut down our Christmas tree? Can we go now? Huh? Can we?" The hunt for a perfect holiday tree is their signal that the count down to Christmas morning has begun.

However, if you are not properly prepared for your trek to the Christmas tree farm, you may find your 'adventure' turned into a 'disaster', and yourself back at the local Wal-Mart Christmas tree lot next year.

Here is some guidelines and tips that will help you to avoid mishaps.



(1) Locate the Christmas tree farms in your area and their phone numbers.

Your local phone book will have some of the major ones, but they may not list all of the smaller farms. This link is a much better option CHRISTMAS TREE.ORG. Simply enter your zip code and all the Christmas tree farms in your area will appear. Click on the individual farm links to get phone numbers, directions and other vital information.

(2) Decide on the type of Christmas tree you want.
Check the CHRISTMAS TREE SELECTION GUIDE to decide on what type of tree you want. Once you know what kind of tree you want then you can call the farms in your area and find out what species of tree they have. Often your choices will be limited and you will have to reevaluate your choice based on driving distance and availability.

(3) While you have them on the phone.
Check their prices. Do they take checks, credit cards or must you bring cash? Do they allow the family dog? What assistance do they offer, such as hauling, trimming, shaking and/or netting? Do they provide saws, gloves, or other equipment? Don't forget to get directions. Write them down.


(1) Get everyone on board.
Make sure that the kids are excited about 'going to the tree farm' and 'picking out a Christmas tree'. Play it up as a 'family adventure', and 'getting ready for Santa Claus". Let them know that you need their help to find the perfect Christmas tree. Remember, the actual tree is really secondary - it's the family time that important.

(2) Decide where you are going to set up your Christmas tree and measure.
First, get the ceiling height so you will know how tall of a Christmas tree to cut. The trees in the field look smaller than they do in your home. Don't pay for more tree than you need. Next measure the width of the area where you want to put the tree. A 10' tall Christmas tree could be 8' wide at the bottom. You don't want to get home with your perfect tree only to find out that it will not fit in the room vertically or horizontally.

(3) Get the car, truck or SUV ready.
Load up your saw, gloves, tape measure, bungee straps or rope if you or using the rooftop, and a first aide kit (just in case). Make sure you have enough gas. Put the directions to the Christmas tree farm in the front seat next to you. DON'T FORGET THE CAMERA. Christmas memories are important, and a picture of everyone in front of the Christmas tree before you cut it down will seem precious when the kids are grown.

(4) Get the family ready.
You want to go to the farm prepared for a day in the country. Start with comfortable rugged shoes for everyone. Next dress in old clothes that you won't mind if they get dirty, stained or torn. Depending on where you live, early December can sometimes be quite cool or just downright cold. Check the weather report the night before and plan to dress appropriately. Remember you can take off jackets if it warms up, but if you need them and don't have them, it could spoil the whole occasion. Bring rain gear if the weather is threatening. And lastly, DON'T FORGET THE INSECT REPELLENT! Ticks, chiggers, ants, mosquitoes and flying bugs, all live in the woods, and each of them would like nothing more than to spoil your family adventure.

(5) Decide rather to bring "Rover" or not.
Check the Christmas tree farm's policy. The largest majority prohibit pets. Many dogs will run wildly, scare other children, chase woodlands critters, bark at farm animals and 'mark' other people's trees. Now we know 'Rover' would never do any of these things, but after all, dogs ARE dogs, and the above behavior is just part or their 'job description'. If, by chance you find a farm that DOES ALLOW pets it will be with the stipulation that you keep them on a leash at all times. Leaving your pet in the car is a poor option, as often it could take you an hour or two from start to finish to find, cut and load up your Christmas tree, this is in addition to the drive time to and from the farm. Most pets will get a little uncomfortable stuck in the car that long.

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