Some traditions are just too hard to resist, and driving out to a Christmas tree farm and cutting down the family tree each year is one such tradition. We started doing this years ago before having kids. We would join friends for a warm breakfast at a local greasy spoon café and then head out in our friend’s pickup to the nearest Christmas tree farm.
The first year that we had this idea it took us a while to find a Christmas tree farm. We persevered driving through the countryside until we began to see vehicles with freshly cut Christmas trees tied to their roofs. We followed this lead and found the tree farm.
What fun we had traipsing through the snow to the rows and finding the perfect tree, sawing through the thick trunk, smelling the pungent, sticky sap and feeling the pricks of the thousands of sharp little needles as we carried it back to the barn for its full-throttle shaking and netting.
We were hooked. This became a tradition, but then we had little ones and it was more difficult to go traipsing out in the snow and cold to cut down a tree. So, we stopped this for a while, but now it’s time to revive this tradition and introduce our kids to the fun of cutting down our own tree.
No matter your age or family make up, this is an experience that everyone will enjoy. Most tree farms do provide the saw and will shake and bag the tree for you.
Check out this sampling of tree farms from around the Twin Cities:
Rum River Tree Farm
21050 Lake George Blvd.
Oak Grove, MN 55303
Hampton Hills Tree Farm
998 310th St, Cannon Falls, MN 55009
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $32 – $37, discount with coupon on website
This family owned business has been growing and grooming Christmas trees for over 40 years. There are White Pine, Scotch Pine, Balsam, Spruce, Fraser Fir and Norway Pine at Rum River. At Hampton Hills there are Fraser Fir, Balsam and Scotch Pine available. Come for the trees, but don’t forget to stop in for a visit with Santa, a candy cane, coloring books and a horse-drawn hayride; all for free. You’ll also find tree stands and bags, wreaths, spruce tops and other decorating accents.
Hacker’s Tree Farm, Nursery and Greenhouse
45372 190th St.
Sleepy Eye, MN 56085
This family owned tree farm got its start in 1981. Since that year, Hacker’s has grown to include cut-your-own, freshly made wreaths and fundraiser partnerships with area schools and organizations. Check the website for the varieties available this season. Hacker’s will open the day after Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to look at the beautiful wreaths and swags after you’ve selected your tree.
Pinestead Tree Farms
1602 285th Ave. NE
Isanti, MN 55040
Open the weekend before Thanksgiving
check website for specific hours on specific days
At Pinestead you can choose from Fraser Fir, Balsam Fir, Blue Spruce, White Pine, Scotch Pine and Norway Pine. During weekdays walk or drive into the fields. They do have large ice fishing sleds available for pulling the kids. On weekends you can ride the festive tractor drawn hay wagon to the fields. Once you have your perfect tree warm up around the campfire and say hello to the farm animals. There’s a real treat inside the gift shop; two model trains running simultaneously on separate 160 foot loops through intricately designed landscapes. Hours vary quite a bit so click on this calendar to find out when Pinestead is open.
CBS Insider Tip: Santa makes special visits to Pinestead: He is there Friday, Saturday and Sunday following Thanksgiving, and the first two weekends in December, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Log Cabin Pines Christmas Tree Farms
6345 E. 240th St.
Elko, MN 55020
Opening at 9:00 a.m. the Friday after Thanksgiving then Saturdays 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sundays – Friday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Cost: $6 per foot
You can cut your own Balsam Fir, Canaan Fir or Spruce at Log Cabin Pines. Log Cabin Pines has been around for 31 years, starting out with 3000 Pine seedlings. In 1988, they added the cut your own part of the farm. And they now have “Heart of the Country” Christmas craft store selling ornaments and other decorations.
Harry C. Peterson Christmas Tree Farm
5968 149th Ave.
Becker, MN 55308
Open 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving and thereafter 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on weekend after Thanksgiving or by appointment through December 18th.
Cost: $5 and up
Choose from Balsam Fir, Spruce, Blue Spruce, White Pine, Scotch Pine and Norway Pine. This farm boasts that you will find the perfect Christmas tree here. They have over 30 years of experience growing and shaping trees.
12946 47th St.
Clear Lake, MN 55319
Open November 26th – December 19th; Monday – Friday 11:30 a.m. to Dusk;
and Saturday – Sunday 9:30 a.m. – Dusk
Cost: $29.99 – $59.99
This is another family-owned and operated tree farm that’s been in business for 30 years and has over 200 acres of Christmas trees. You can choose from Balsam Fir, Nova Scotia Balsam Fir, Fraser Fir, Canaan Fir, White Pine, Scotch Pine, Norway Pine, Blue Spruce, Black Hill Spruce and White Spruce. After cutting your tree, see the animals in the petting zoo, visit Santa, warm up by the campfire or go on a horse drawn hayride. They have lots of decorations and tree tops for sale, as well. Check the website for a $1 off coupon.
Anna Berend is an attorney and the author of Motherly Law Blog. On Motherly Law, Anna writes about legal issues that affect families and offers tips and resources that pertain to those legal topics. On occasion, inspiration strikes and Anna writes about something totally unrelated to the law.You can find Anna at www.motherlylaw.com, on Facebook at Motherly Law and on Twitter @MotherlyLaw.