As is our tradition, the day after Thanksgiving we bought our Christmas tree. We’ve been getting a live tree since Julian’s first Christmas four years ago; however, we’ve never cut it ourselves. In fact, the last three years we have gone three different places for a live tree. I won’t name names, but we have never been happy with the results.
It’s perhaps a flaw of the pre-cut tree: you don’t know when the tree was cut, how long its been sitting, or where it came from. As a result, every year by Christmas Day, our once-full tree is a little slimmer, slightly brown and totally lacking that fresh “evergreen” smell. In fact, one year our tree shed heaps of needles at the slightest touch, and I became so disgruntled that I Grinch-ishly discarded it the day after Christmas.
Anyway — what I’m trying to say, is that this year, we decided to get a fresh tree. And the best way to ensure the freshness of your tree is by picking it yourself!
After doing some research, we decided to head up to Lebanon to Berninger Christmas Trees and Wreaths. The people we spoke with over the phone were extremely friendly; the farm was a quick 20-minute trip up 1-71; the facility seemed very family friendly; and, at a flat fee of just $33/tree, the price was right (if you want a pre-cut tree from Berninger, you’ll pay a little more — but nothing unreasonable).
This isn’t a fancy place — it’s one small, main building off a gravel driveway that’s surrounded by hilly acres of trees. You’ll grab your own saw at the entrance (and a tree tarp for dragging your newly cut tree back to be wrapped. I highly recommend getting one of these as we forgot to and it was a long walk back!), and head off independently to find the perfect tree. There’s a rickety wooden bridge going over a creek — then field upon field of different types of trees.
My kids were all over this. They brought their own saws from home (and, in fact, you can bring your own saw to cut a tree, if you’d like). We wore our rain boots and let the kids roam around. They excitedly pointed out possible trees — and we looked around for about 30 minutes before finding an area of gorgeous, perfectly shaped, 6 foot Fraser Furs.
The kids “helped” Daddy by keeping a safe distance as he chopped down the winning tree. It started to rain as we walked back, so I waited inside the main house with the kids. It was cozy and warm in there, with twinkling lights everywhere, lots of Christmas decorations and a train traveling around a track near the ceiling. There was free hot cocoa and popcorn, and it smelled like butter and chocolate and Christmas trees.
In fact, our house currently has that “fresh tree” smell — and so far, very few needles have been shed! We absolutely loved Berninger — and if you’re considering a real tree this year, I highly recommend heading to this local farm. You’ll leave with a gorgeous tree, homemade ornament (they give you a free one with your tree!) and lots of Christmas spirit.