Christmas is a really big deal in my family. My husband jokes that the day after Christmas is like a hangover for us! My dad is definitely a Clark Griswold as far as Christmas decorations are concerned. So, as you can imagine, cutting down our Christmas tree has been a long standing tradition in my family. At least one tree in our house had to be real (we had 3-4 trees in our house every year!). And let’s face it, there’s nothing like the smell of a real Christmas tree to really get you in the Christmas spirit!
This year, we ventured off to Maple Row Farm in Easton, CT. This is typically where we would go each year. I got married a few years ago, and hadn’t gone to cut down my tree since, and I felt like a piece of me was missing, so this year, I called my mom and asked her when we were going. My husband had never experienced Christmas tree cutting with my family, and I told him it was a long process, but since he was family, it was something he had to experience, so off we went to find the perfect tree!
So, how to find the perfect Christmas tree? It starts with preparation because you are not going to find the perfect tree if you’re miserable out in the fields!
Here are my 10 tips for picking the perfect Christmas tree:
#1 Bring Good Boots
Wear good boots, it can get really muddy out in the fields, so don’t wear your brand new Uggs, they will get ruined!
#2 Bring a Raincoat
If you’re going to get your tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, be prepared, historically it rains or snows that weekend here in New England, which will leave you very wet! I forgot my raincoat this year, and I was soaked and freezing by the time we left. It wasn’t even raining hard, just drizzling, but I was still soaked. Luckily, I had a few layers on.
#3 Bring a Camera
This is a family affair you will treasure for years to come, so be sure to bring a camera to capture your exciting family experience. Don’t forget to ask the staff to take a pic of you and your family. Maple Row Farm has a hayride that goes up the mountain, so we asked a staff member to take a pic of our family on the hayride this year, and guess what, my mom loved the photo, so now I have a gift idea for Christmas! Win, win for me!
Ok, now on to picking out the tree…
#4 Bring a Tape Measure
You think I’m kidding? Measure your stand, your ceiling, and your tree topper prior to going to the tree farm, and your tree will be the perfect height! Last year our tree was too tall, now my ceiling is stained and I can’t get all the sap off!
#5 Find a Saw with a New Blade
They don’t let you bring chainsaws to tree farms, so make sure you grab a good saw. This is key if you don’t want to get frustrated or worn out! We, unfortunately, had a dull saw, but my dad had a new one, so after fighting with the dull saw for a minute, I went and found my dad, got the new saw and within three swipes, my husband and I were yelling timber!
#6 Have Patience
This isn’t a process that’s going to take a few minutes – it could take hours for the picky person like myself. You’re spending a lot of money on a tree (ours was $69). Make sure it’s the right one!
#7 Don’t Pick the First Tree You See
You want to make sure you’re tree is perfect. Step back, walk around the whole tree, and look at it from different angles. My husband and I thought we had found the perfect tree, but at second glance I noticed it was a banana! … and I only noticed this because I looked at it from a different angle and from further away.
#8 Know What Type of Tree You Want
Know what you’re looking for in a tree. I prefer a very full tree, but that does make it harder to hang ornaments because the branches are too close together, so that’s something you have to think about. Do you want to display all of your ornaments or would you be happy with just displaying a few? This year, I went for a really full tree, but only put on a few ornaments because it was so full, and frankly, I tried something new this year, and I loved the way it was decorated with ribbon as garland, so I didn’t really feel the need for too many ornaments after the fact. I truly have the perfect tree this year – I would have been happy with no ornaments 🙂
#9 Know Your Trees
This goes hand and hand with #8. My favorite tree is a spruce, they hold the ornaments the best because they have strong branches, but the needles are hard, and this year, they were really prickly when you touched the tree, so we went with a fir tree that had soft needles. As much as I love my tree, I have a lot of heavy ornaments, and it was hard to hang them this year, so if you have heavy ornaments, that’s something to keep in mind.
#10 Drink hot chocolate
Your day is not complete unless you are drinking hot chocolate to keep you warm!
Ps. Don’t forget to use that camera and take a picture with your perfect Christmas tree before you cut it down!
Here’s my perfect tree!
I hope these tips are helpful. Do you and your family cut down your tree every year? What Christmas tree farm do you go to? Share your experience(s) with me in the comments below!