Picking out a live tree

With all this talk about Christmas Tree farms suffering this season, I thought I’d share my own story of picking out a tree.

When I had lived on my own, I’d succumbed to the plastic tree, saving money with a $20 midget tree we used year after year.  Every time we took it out of the box, the limbs looked a little worse for wear.  But with a little bending and prodding, as well as some strategically placed ornaments, it passed as an acceptable Charlie Brown tree.  When the pre-lit lights started burning out, I compensated by throwing a few more strands over it.  But when we moved into Mr. W’s house, I gratefully placed the tree on the curb to offer to any passerby who wished to become its owner.

But I admit it.  I liked the plastic tree.  It was less hassle.  I already owned it.  There was no pine needle mess, or stray spider nest to hatch in my home.  And while it drooped a little more each year, I was willing to pretend it looked like a real tree.  Sort of.  Needless to say, when we started our holiday planning, I talked up the artificial tree to Mr. W so well that he was sold on it as well.  We started looking through the ads for a quality tree at the right price.

“Wait.  What?” Mr. W’s son asked, suddenly tuning into our conversation.  At 16 years old, it had seemed he’d outgrown the Christmas Tree farm tradition the two of them had held for years.  Previous years, they had always visited the farm to choose a tree they deemed perfect, enjoy a cup of apple cider, and then pick an ornament to hang on the tree before heading home.  But, as most teens are wont to do, it appeared he’d grown bored with the idea.  Even when we’d initially told him of our plans to choose an artificial tree, he barely registered a reaction.  But sitting at the dinner table with us as we discussed buying our fake tree, he took a sudden note of interest.  And my own two kids chimed in as well, voicing their opposition to buying a fake tree.

“But think of the environment,” I squeaked, to which I was quickly overruled by better arguments to my defense.  Trees sold in parking lots would be cut down whether we bought them or not.  Disposing of an artificial tree is worse for the environment than disposing of a real tree.  So is creating one.  It’s good for our local farms.  The kids rattled off reason after reason as to why we should be buying a real tree instead of a fake tree until even I couldn’t help but admit Christmas just isn’t Christmas until the house is filled with the scent of pine.

So Sunday, we took off for Liberty Christmas Tree Farm at 241 Liberty Rd in Petaluma.

Here’s our day, in photos:

First thing you need when you go to chop down your own tree is a sturdy cart and a good saw.  

You also need a sturdy kid to pull the sturdy cart.  Thankfully, we brought the Taz.

Looking for a tree can be a really tiring experience.  I think we saw at least 10 “perfect” trees we were forced to abandon because one of us decided it just wasn’t perfect enough.  This brings me to the next reason why it’s important to bring the kids – child labor.

Ahhh….  That’s better.

When choosing a tree, it’s good to remember that the smaller the trunk, the easier it is to bring down.  Of course, this one got vetoed by the kids.  I don’t know why they got a vote, though.  It’s not like they were cutting it down….

Great job on pulling that cart, Taz.

Oh yeah, we did make the kids cut it down.  After all, that’s why they came, right?

Finally, a tree we could all agree on!

If you take anything from our goofy story, take this – if the tree farm you go to offers to shake out your tree, TAKE THEM UP ON IT.  This not only loosens any dead needles, it also makes sure all living creatures burns off a little fat, kind of like those belted shaking machines from the 80’s.  Oh, and it encourages them to vacate the premises, as well as any nests they may have laid within the branches.  Trust me.  I have lived through a Christmas of baby spiders. It wasn’t pretty.

Finally, a cold day of hunting for the perfect tree deserves a cup of hot apple cider.  Yum!

And now our house smells absolutely wonderful.  🙂  And yes, we do use a Care Bear to top our tree.  What?

Liberty Tree Farm is located at 241 Liberty Rd in Petaluma.  They sell all of their trees at one price, regardless of size.  Monterey Pines and Sierra Redwoods are $42.99, Douglas Firs are $49.99.   They offer tree shaking and netting for an additional $3 each.  Their apple cider is free, and they sell ornaments on site.  They’re open from 9am to 5pm every weekend.  Contact them at 490-6011, or visit their website at libertychristmastreefarm.com.

Anyone else buying from a farm this year?

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