The Hunt for the Perfect Tree

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Trees are Short, and trees are tall,

And some drop leaves to scuff in Fall.

Trees are fat, and trees are thin,

With windows where the sun looks in.

Trees are big, and trees are small,

But Christmas Trees are best of all!”

Ahhh… the hunt for the perfect tree…

It is my favorite family holiday activity.

There is something magical about bundling up and heading out into a grove of pine trees in search of “the perfect Christmas tree.”

Every year we cut our own tree. Yes, it is more work, and A LOT more mess and hassle then just setting up an artificial tree,

but we continue this tradition year after year

because nothing in the world beats the smell of a live tree and the memories made in the woods while cutting down your own tree.

For the past 6 years we have gone to a small, locally owned tree farm near our home. We have enjoyed many memories made walking the hills of McIntyre Tree Farm, but after a tough hunt last year we realized that we have exhausted the selection of 12-14 foot trees available at McIntyre’s so we knew we would have to look somewhere else this year.

For family night we loaded into the van to go “tree hunting.” This year we tried a new Christmas tree farm:

Pioneer Trails Tree Farm.

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It was a 45 minute drive but well worth it. We were so impressed with this tree farm, and had such a positive experience, we will definitely be back next year as a returning customer.

What really impressed me about Pioneer Trails was the efficient system they have developed for easy tree hunting.

Step 1:

When we arrived we were directed to the line of sample trees where we were able to see and touch the different tree varieties available for harvesting. It was so nice to have them all lined up side by side where we could easily compare the colors, smells, needles, and sturdiness of the different types of Christmas trees.

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Step 2:

Once we decided on the type of tree we were interested in (we chose a white spruce) then we had to decide how tall of a tree we’d like. (We knew we wanted a 12-14 footer.) Using a color coded map we identified the type and size of our perfect tree on the map and knew just where to begin our hunt.

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Step 3:

Then we caught a ride on the wagons that make their way around the tree farm, dropping families off in the area where their perfect tree was located.

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Step 4:

There we picked up our sled, saw, and the carpet square that was used to kneel on while cutting down our tree.

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Step 5:

Then the search began! This part of the process is always the most time consuming as seven people scatter, quickly finding the tree that would be “perfect” for our home. Unfortunately, usually everyone is standing by a different tree. Rather than take home 7 Christmas trees we then begin the laborious challenge of compromise as we debate the merits of each tree and the kids all try to sell the family on their tree. We then usually narrow the field down to 3 possibilities before the final vote.

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Step 6:

Then it is time to cut it down! Usually Toby brings his chainsaw and he cuts it down in one fatal swoop, but this year we used the hand saw provided and let the kids all take a turn. (It took MUCH longer.)

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Step 7:

After the tree was down we loaded it onto the sleigh and it was pulled to the wagon stop where we climbed on for ride back to the barn and the employees loaded our tree onto the flat bed wagon behind the passenger wagon.

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Step 8:

When we arrived back at the barn the tree was carried into the barn where workers placed it onto a vibrating machine that shook it to remove all the debris and loose needles. It was very neat!

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Step 9:

Then the tree was sent through the binding machine where it was wrapped in twine for easy transport home. My boys LOVED watching the machines work.

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Step 10:

The final step was to then settle the bill. (The least fun part of the experience. ) 😉

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The nice thing about this tree farm is that there is no having to figure out what you owe. It is a set price of $52.00 regardless of the type of tree you choose or how big of a tree you pick.

On the way home we stopped for eggnog milkshakes at McDonalds for our family night treat.

Another magical year of “tree hunting” was a success!IMG_7678 (2)

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