How lucky am I to have married into a family with such a great tradition as tree cutting?! This must be my 10th year going, but for my husband’s family the tradition has been going on for at least 3 decades, maybe more. I grew up with the old tree we pulled out of the box and bent back to shape. But I suppose that’s a tradition in itself and I never felt anything but pure joy when we pulled the box out from the storage room.
Usually the first Saturday in December we all meet at my inlaws house to fill coffee and cocoa canisters and get bundled. Then we head out (major carpooling) to Hampton Hills Tree Farm in Hastings. We have been to others but have settled on this one the last couple years.
When you pull up they hand you a saw and give you a general layout of the trees types balsam, fir etc… Then you drive around (in our case, whip a few you-know-what’s to make the kids giggle) till you find a good spot! It’s a race to find the best tree before another family can snatch it. Of course it’s a competition.
The kids get pulled in a sled at high speeds by the uncles, giggling with joy. Once we find the “one” (which can take anywhere from 30-1hr) a family photo is snapped in front of it. One of the men will saw it down (I could do it, it’s not hard). Then you drag it to the roof of the vehicle and pull up to the exit where there is a bonfire to keep warm and, if we’re lucky, apple cider. The employees put the tree in a shaker to get the dead stuff out and shoot it through netting to bundle it compact so it’ll easily fit on the roof of the vehicle. They have ties and are usually willing to help with tying down.
From there we head out to Meisville, trees on board, to King’s Place Bar & Grill which is famous for their burgers! Find a unique burger on the menu, or create your own. Yum yum yum. It’s a hole in a wall but has turned into one of our favorite parts of the day.
We get home and get the stand ready. The thing about stands is that the ones with the spike where you drill a hole in the truck of the tree do not work well. Why? Because inevitably the tree is all kinds of crooked. So many years we used one of those stands and used books under the legs to skew it to look semi- straight. The best stands are the ones that let you adjust the trunk like a vice grip. Once you get the tree on the stand (or if you leave it outside) water it immediately because if you don’t, the sap left from cutting will harden and not allow the water to be absorbed. This ends up in a dead tree pretty quick. Cut the netting away and let the tree rest in water for 24 hrs. Then it’s ready to decorate! Water everyday or you’ll get a dry tree and it’ll start shedding needles like no one’s business. So important!
The trees where we go have a flat rate $40 for any one you choose, but there are other places that cost as much as $10 a foot.
We’ve been doing this tradition with infants and everything; never missed a year. We have in the past left the little ones in the car with the heat going. Usually Grandma is willing to keep warm in the car and stay with them. Actually come to think of it, it’s one of the few times I hear zero complaints from the kids.Real trees are imperfect which always makes us laugh as we try to angle the tree to hide the dead spots. They’re messy, and they poke your fingers but they are so worth it!
Written by our guest writer Dayna Trenary
sKIDaddlers has a large collection of Christmas Tree Farms in Minnesota. Below are a few honorable mentions:
- Krueger’s Tree Farm, Lake Elmo MN
Cut-your-own tree, wagon rides, visit Santa, nature walk and warm apple cider.
- Jan’s Christmas Tree Farm, Clear Lake MN
Santa arrives by helicopter at noon all dates!! Visit with Santa, hay rides and cut-your-own tree.
- B& J Evergreen, Clear Lake MN
A cut-your-own Christmas Tree farm. Offering wagon rides, Santa visits, petting zoo and more.
- Cupkie Christmas Village, Richville MN
Cut-your-own Christmas Tree farm. Enjoy the bonfire, concessions, Santa visits, pony rides, live reindeer, straw pyramid to climb on, train rides and a gift shop!
- Rum River Tree Farm, Oak Grove MN
Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Farm. Enjoy visits with Santa, Hayrides, petting zoo and pony rides, candy canes and coloring books!
- Pinestead Tree Farm, Isanti MN
Cut-your-own tree, wagon rides, visit Santa, see the model train, bonfire, and gift shop. Lots of photo-ops, too!
To see our complete Christmas tree farm collection, click here: Christmas Tree Farms