Picking out the holiday tree is one of the highlights of the holiday season. When the children were little we always went to a Cut Your Own Farm where we could cut down our tree. At some farms the family can enjoy wagon rides and hot chocolate. We tried to go on a day in early December when the temperature was in the 40s or 50s with the golden sunshine of late fall. The wonderful pictures of the children, parents and grandparents having fun together are priceless.
With the increasing number of children with asthma, not to mention adults with allergies an artificial tree may seem to be the best choice. However, keep in mind that live trees do not have pollen in December and any pollen on the tree would have been washed away with summer and autumn wind and rain.
An artificial tree spends 11 months in a storage room where it can pick up mold spores and dust mites. Chemical and other manmade materials are used to manufacture the artificial tree, some possibly harmful. Lastly an artificial tree is not biodegradable and will always be part of the landfill. A real tree will biodegrade and enrich the soil as it does so.
Many people mistakenly think that buying a real tree somehow destroys a tree growing in the wild. Holiday trees are grown on farms by an independent business man and harvested in much the same way corn, tomatoes or green beans are harvested. Because the farmer lives on his property with his family he is much less likely to use harmful pesticides and other chemicals. Buying a live tree whether in a choose and cut farm or from a tree lot is a way of supporting our local farmers.
When going to a tree farm remember trees often look smaller outdoors. Be sure to measure your space so you don't get a tree that is too large. Dress for the weather with sturdy coats, boots, hats and gloves. Remember you are going to be in a farmer's field which could be uneven and sometimes very wet. Some tree farms supply saws with which to cut your tree. However your own saw will be sharper and available when you get to your tree. Don't be alarmed at a few brown needles. At this time of year trees normally shed a few of their oldest needles.
If you don't want to cut your own tree or you can't decide, the staff will help you pick out your tree, cut it down for you and then usually wrap the tree to make transportation home easier.
As soon as you get your live tree home, place it in a bucket of water. It is very important to keep the tree hydrated. Watch the water carefully over the next few days and keep the tree watered. It seems every year there is a new concoction that "they" say will keep the tree fresher. Don't worry about the aspirin, sugar or lime soda. Plain water is just fine.
When you get ready to bring the tree inside make a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree. If you look carefully you will see the tree stump has callused over and cannot take up water easily. A fresh cut will allow the tree to be watered successfully once you get it in the tree stand and will keep it fresh until the holiday is over. We leave our tree bound as it comes from the tree lot. Once inside the netting is removed and as the tree warms the limbs relax. For this reason We bring our tree in the day before we decorate.
Our special tree comes into the house in a rush of cold air. The dogs bark, the cats investigate and the children squeal with excitement. It is an exciting day the whole family will remember the rest of the year.