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Choose & Cut Your Own Christmas Tree This Year

 
tree-1.jpg
Thinking about the many Christmas trees I’ve enjoyed throughout the years brings up a host of sweet memories: The earliest trees of my childhood included brass clip-on candle holders. We lit the candles on the tree each evening (my parents were very brave). This tradition was passed down through the generations from our Swedish ancestors. There was the year our newly acquired stray cat took the entire tree down only a half hour after it was fully decorated…

…One of my favorite trees was a silver aluminum tree my college roommates and I acquired at a garage sale. It was a zero-maintenance, festive hit for a house full of single ladies. Now that I’m a parent, only a live Christmas tree will do. We adore the scent of a live tree! This year, we’re planning a new family tradition: we’re going to choose and cut our own tree at a nearby tree farm.

tree-2.jpgThe North Carolina Christmas tree industry produces over 20% of all real Christmas trees grown in the United States and is ranked second in the nation for Christmas tree sales. Fraser Fir trees represent an astounding 98% of all species grown in North Carolina. North Carolina Fraser Firs have been selected for display in the White House twelve times. The most recent NC tree to grace the White House’s Blue Room hailed from Peak Farms in Jefferson, NC, in 2012. Quite a few White House Christmas Trees in recent years were grown at farms in Laurel Springs, NC. You can read more about these award-winning trees HERE.

If you’re planning to venture out to one of our regions many Choose and Cut tree farms this holiday season, here are few tips that may help you get the most out of your experience:

1 – To Cut or Not to Cut
Don’t worry if you don’t own a bowsaw or are unsure about cutting down your own tree. Tree farms offer the freedom to explore the farm and select the perfect tree for your needs without having to do the actual cutting. Most farms have helpers on hand to cut, shake, and bale the tree as well as tie the tree on your vehicle.

tree-3.jpg2 – Tree Types
Some Christmas tree farms offer a variety of trees like Leyland Cypress, Virginia Pine, Douglas Fir, and Norway Spruce.  If the beloved Fraser Fir is what you’re looking for, all Christmas tree farms in Mast Store’s tristate region offer this most popular Christmas tree. Fraser Firs have likely become the nation’s favorite Christmas tree due its wonderful aroma, resistance to temperature fluctuations, excellent needle retention, and strong yet pliable limbs to support heavy ornaments. This tree is so popular that it’s shipped to every state in the U.S. and all over the globe.

3 - Space Availability
Once you’re outside among acres of trees, it can be challenging to picture which tree will fit your home. Before you head out to the farm, determine where in your home you plan to display your tree. Remember to take into consideration the best height and shape for the space you have available. Some folks prefer a slender tree while others like one that’s larger and bulkier.

tree-4.jpg4 – Examine Your Tree
The needles should be resilient, flexible, and not brittle. North Carolina Christmas tree farmer, Jake Hudson, recommends, “Place your thumb and forefinger about six inches from the tip of a branch. Then pull your hand toward you allowing the branch to slip through your fingers. If the needles stick to the branch, you have a healthy tree.”

The tree should be green with no brown spots and have a good fragrance. A fresh tree will retain its moisture content and thereby keep its fragrance and needles. Also, check limbs to see if they’re strong enough to hold ornaments and strings of lights.”

5 – Shake It
When purchasing a tree from a farm, most farmers will offer to mechanically shake the tree. This will eliminate dead, loose needles, and any bugs.

6 - Tree Care
Fresh cut trees are usually very thirsty for the first few days. Make sure to keep your tree stand full of water by checking it twice daily. Fresh trees live longer when they’re placed out of direct sunlight. And most importantly, remember to turn electrical tree lights off when you leave the house and never leave lights on overnight. If you check limbs and needles regularly for dryness, you’ll greatly reduce your chances of a fire.

tree-5.jpgHere a few Choose and Cut Christmas tree farms we recommend in each Mast Store community. When you plan your trip, make time to stay a while and enjoy this festive outdoor experience. Many tree farms offer homemade wreaths and seasonal goods like local jams, cider, hot chocolate, honey, and apple cider donuts. A few also offer hay rides through the farm, s’mores by the fire, and live music. Check the websites below for times, directions, and special events:

North Carolina
North Carolina Christmas Tree Association
High Country: Circle C Tree Farm
Winston-Salem: Lil’ Grandfather Mountain Christmas Tree Farm (about 1 hour to Laurel Springs, NC)
Asheville: Sandy Hollar Tree Farm
Hendersonville: High Valley Tree Farm (about 30 minutes to Brevard, NC)
Waynesville: Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm

South Carolina
Greenville: Mystic Tree Farm
Columbia: Hollow Creek Tree Farm (about 30 minutes to Gilbert, SC)

Tennessee
Knoxville: Blue Bird Christmas Tree Farm (about 20 minutes to Heiskell, TN)

Whet your appetite for your own Choose and Cut Christmas tree adventure by taking a peek at this enchanting video by Explore Boone NC.

Also, check out this site for tips about where and how you can recycle your live Christmas tree after the holidays are over. And don’t forget to saw about 12 to 24 inches off the bottom of your tree before you part ways. Save this bottom section of your tree until next December so it may serve as your yule log for next Christmas. Our family burns the yule log from the previous year’s Christmas tree in the fireplace on Christmas Eve. It’s a wonderful way to remember Christmases past and carry the warmth and light the tree brought us into the New Year.