A REAL Christmas Tree Guide


A REAL Christmas Tree Guide Our family’s favorite holiday tradition is going out and cutting down our very own Christmas tree! The process of choosing which variety, size, and shape is so much fun! We make a day of it, drink hot chocolate, and take our time picking out the perfect one.

We moved to Chattanooga almost four years ago and have been going to Raulston Acres Christmas Tree Farm every year. They have a great selection of tree varieties that grow well in our native southern climate. But if you are going for a more traditional tree, they have pre-cut trees that are shipped in from North Carolina. Last year, we brought home a beautiful Blue Ice Cypress that lasted from November 26th all the way until December 30th. They are all wonderfully fragrant and many have softer needles which we really appreciate with a toddler running around pulling ornaments off every time she passes it. We also snagged a little handmade wreath from their gift shop to hang on our chicken coop.


There are, of course, SO many places to get your own fresh Christmas tree. Check out Chattanooga Christmas Tree Farm Roundup for a full list.

But now that you have an idea of where you can get your real tree, you need to keep it alive for the duration of the holiday season! I have come up with a few tips over the years that have really helped our trees last longer:

  1. You want to start out with a healthy tree. Avoid ones with any brown patches or overly bare spots.
  2. Give the tree a clean, straight cut along the bottom after you get it home.
  3. Put the tree in some water as soon as possible. Plan out your day so that you know you can set your tree up as soon as you get home from the farm.
  4. Put it in a cool area of your home, as far from any heat sources as you possibly can. Not only does heat dry your tree out faster causing it to drop more needles, but that can also be a fire hazard.
  5. Opt for LED lights.
  6. Check the water level every day and top it off when needed.

Now that you have your tree up and it’s making your home feel cozy and smell amazing, it’s time to decorate! You are already helping the environment by putting up a real tree vs. a fake one, so instead of purchasing a bunch of plastic ornaments, why not make your own!

Check out a list of my favorite homemade and compostable decorations that you can remake every year:

  1. Dried Orange Slices 
  2. Painted Pine Cones
  3. Cranberry Garland
  4. Popcorn Garland 
  5. Paper Chain Garland 
  6. Paper Snowflakes 

The best part about making your own decorations is that the kids can also get involved! Our daughter is turning three in January so she is the perfect age to help with some of these crafts. She loves an activity, so anything that can help keep her entertained for a little while is a huge win.


So what do you do when Christmas is over and you’re ready to take the tree down? I would recommend composting it in your own garden area if you can, but if that is not possible make sure to check with the recycling area in your neighborhood. Make note of when they begin their tree collection days and just drop off your used tree. You can also turn your popcorn and cranberry garlands into a tasty snack for the birds by hanging them on some trees outside.

What are some of your own favorite Christmas tree traditions?


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