Christmas trees are hands down my favorite tradition. Maybe you have several trees scattered throughout your house in various coordinated themes and colors. Maybe you don’t do an in-house tree, but decorate the large evergreen in your front yard. Perhaps you have one beautifully decorated tree in your living room and your kids each have one in the color theme of their choice in their bedrooms.
Or maybe, you’re like me and you have the best misfit tree around.
My tree does not match. Seriously, it has no color coordination or theme. Its lights are not carefully laid in place, but more shoved into the holes that were missed on the first attempt to strand. Some ornaments are still shiny and new and others are already falling apart. I had to jam a hook in the head of a construction paper Rudolph this year to make him stay, but he survived!
Every ornament tells a story.
The slightly scary angel that sits atop our tree was made when my daughter was three in her preschool class. Every time it’s placed on the top, I think about her at three years of age, that very special teacher who turned into such an amazing friend and the roots my daughter planted that year. I also think about how scared she was to start school that year. We got this gem of a picture on her first day. Kind of resembles the scary angel, no?
Also hanging on the tree is my son’s angel ornament that he absolutely refused to color because angels wear white. Obvs. As soon as it is unwrapped, I think about his insistence that all he needed were cotton balls glued to her wings. At first, I tried and tried to get him to color it something — anything! But then it hit me; he knows angels and Jesus. If his angel is in a white robe, so be it! It is one of my favorites, even now.
I have first Christmas ornaments. Reindeer, balls with handprints, clothespin Mary and Baby Jesus and candy canes all made with so much love at school. I have monogrammed ornaments from friends from different times in my life. Some still around…some not. I have a beautiful dice and wine barrel ornaments that remind me of travels. There is a fire station ornament gifted to my husband after he almost burnt the house down (another story for another day, friends). I have a personalized family ornament from every year since my husband and I were married, showing each family member. The first one started out with just him, me and our dog, Hank.
These aren’t ornaments, they’re memories.
As you get ready to set up your tree this year, will you be considering a real tree to hang your memories on? If so, keep a few things in mind as you head out:
- Measure. Be sure to keep in mind that a tree in an open field is bigger than it looks! Its size will be greater the minute it comes through your door. Do yourself a favor and don’t “eyeball” the tree or your space. Take a pocket measuring tape and be sure to have dimensions.
- Make it an experience. Load up the car with blankets and mugs, and make a day of your tree hunt. Many of the tree farms have activities, hot chocolate and even Santa! Allow plenty of time to enjoy the adventure. Be sure to snap pictures so you have them year after year!
- Be prepared. Call ahead for availability, hours and to see what you may need to bring with you. Ask about credit cards or whether they take cash only. Do you need tools to cut the tree or do they offer pre-cut trees? Ask if they have rooted trees for replanting. Knowing ahead of time what to expect will help you be prepared and make the day fun.
A note: If you can’t get in touch with a farm, consider your next choice. They typically shut down when the trees are gone, or they may not be open every year as their crop replenishes. Be sure to confirm availability before making the trip.
As you head out to make your own Christmas tree adventure traditions, here are some local farms that have offered wonderful selections year after year:
Bluebird Christmas Tree Farm
985 Brushy Valley Road
Heiskell, TN 37754
(865) 599-3522 or (865) 457-5682
Little Mountain Tree Farm
3186 Griffith Road
Pikeville, TN 37367
Raulston Acres Christmas Tree Farm
2572 Georgia 95
Rock Springs, GA 30739
McDowell’s Big Fork Nursery
4955 State Highway 27
Chattanooga, TN 37405
Campbell’s Christmas Tree Farm
7503 Walnut Hills Drive
Harrison, Tennessee 37341
Wheeler’s Tree Farm
1144 Dogwood Valley Road
Tunnel Hill, GA 30755
Santa Land Christmas Tree Farm
2574 Concord Road
LaFayette, GA 30728
Christmas Carroll Tree Farms
7206 Highway 95
LaFayette, GA 30728
Camps Christmas Forest
415 Kile Rd
Sweetwater, Tennessee 37874
Entrance at the corner of Kile Rd & Church Rd
Roan Valley Tree Farm
440 Okolona Rd
Johnson City, Tennessee 37601