Christmas is around the corner and along with it, a special opportunity to start a new tradition and create special memories by cutting down the tree of your choice.
Combine this special event with a family mini road trip to a nearby tree farm and you’ll be able to enjoy that outdoorsy feel without traipsing through miles of snow in search of a tree. Some places will even show you where to harvest your own mistletoe.
Tree farms that let you cut your own tree can be found all over the country and many of them include other holiday-related activities like pictures with Santa, hay rides, sleigh rides, and train rides.
Before you head out to the tree farm, though, be sure to call and confirm they have Christmas trees and that they allow you to choose and cut your own. Also double check their hours as they sometimes change due to weather and other farm responsibilities.
National Forest Service Tree Cutting Permit
If you don’t have a tree farm near you, another option is to go through the National Forest Service, but you’ll have to get a permit. The Rocky Mountain Region manages 17 national forests and seven national grasslands in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and most of South Dakota and Wyoming.
Cutting your own tree is a holiday tradition that helps manage national forests. This year, tree cutting dates fall between December 6-14 with a few locations allowing cutting as early as Thanksgiving. An interactive map on their website makes it easy to find information regarding Christmas tree cutting opportunities on US Forest Service lands located throughout the five-state region.
You won’t get a fresher tree than cutting your own, and it lets you pick the tree that’s perfect for you. However, before you actually head out to cut that tree be prepared unless you want to create memories like those in the classic National Lampoon’s Family Vacation. While it brought laughs in the movie, running into problems while getting your tree can quickly turn your joy into frustration.
When you call ahead to check on hours and other information, find out whether or not saws are provided. Often they are available at the site for a small fee.
Find out if they provide wheelbarrows or some other way to transport the tree back to your vehicle once it is cut. Also, find out if you need to bring a rope or bungee cords to fasten the tree to your car or whether they wrap (bale) it and tie it down for you.
Lastly, before you actually start handling the tree a whole lot, remember it’s been growing outside where spiders live. Ask the farmer if he has a mechanical shaker for shaking the tree. That usually evicts those little unwanted pests.