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Know-before-you-go Tips for Visiting a Christmas Tree Farm

When we moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and into the home that we’ve lived in for 8 years, I determined that for Christmas we would get a tree that reach to the top of our 22 ft high ceiling.  We found a huge and perfect tree at Four Winds Ranch. The tree was so heavy,  we could bearly lift it up the stairs to our second floor living room.   We also chose to bring the tree in tip first.  Big mistake!  We hadn’t even cleared the first landing and the tree was unraveling in the stairway.  For the next 2 hours, the tree remained stuck in our stairwell.

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The huge tree would only stand up if we cut an additional three feet off the tree. Despite our fiasco, every year without fail, our family continues the tradition of visiting a Christmas tree farm. There is something about the chilly air filled with the smell of fresh pine and the sound of happy children running from tree to tree saying “Ooooh! What about this tree?” that make a perfect beginning to Christmas.  After 8 years of trail and error, here are some hard earned tips we offer you:

 

Top 10 tips for a fun day trip to your nearby Christmas Tree Farm.

 

1) Bring cash – a lot of farms don’t take credit cards or checks and you don’t want to drive into the hills and have to turn back without a tree.

2) Trees look smaller in the open than when you bring it into the house.  So don’t be overly enthusiastic for a large tree.

3) Bring a picnic lunch if the weather is nice – it’s fun to make a day trip out of it.  Mountain air also has a way of working up an appetite in kids.  Some farms like Rancho Siempre Verde near Pescadero have a fire pit where you can warm up and roast hotdogs or marshmellows on a stick.

4) When cutting down a tree, cut it 3-4 feet from the base, leaving about 5 branches, so that it will grow back again. Get your tree shaken!  It’s worth every penny.  It’ll save that carpet or living room rug.

5) Tie the tree to your car with the bottom to the front of the car and the top at the back.  Having a sail on the roof of your car can make the trip home unnerving.

6) Have a sharp saw at home that you can use to trim (1/2 inch) the base just before immersing it in water.  A clean cut is essential for helping preserve your tree.

7) Keep your tree tied up with string until it’s set in the stand and always carry a tree into the house leading with the base so that the branches don’t get caught in the hallway

8) Pine sap is hard to get off.  PAM cooking spray gets it off quickly.  For other suggestions go to http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf932469.tip.html

9) Pine needles and vacuum cleaners don’t mix.  Use a stiff broom head and dust pan to get pine needles off the carpet.

10) Place the Christmas Tree in a location away from direct sunlight and away from heat sources for safety and to prevent the tree from drying out.

 

Other Resources:

 

Do you live somewhere else?  Find a u-cut Christmas Tree farm in your area on http://www.pickyourown.org or by searching for your state’s Christmas Tree Farm Association.

 

What are your favorite Christmas Tree Farms in your area?  Share about them. 

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