Keeping it Real This Christmas | Local Families Share Their Real Christmas Tree Stories

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This post is sponsored by the Christmas Tree Promotion Board. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Christmas Tree
Photo Credit: Samantha Dellis

The holiday season is prime time for making memories that last a lifetime, but 2020 presents some pretty unique challenges when it comes to creating holiday magic. Many families will be having to make some difficult decisions about which holiday traditions to hang on to and which ones have to be put on hold this year, which is obviously a decision none of us thought we would be having to make. For some, this will mean staying home instead of traveling or cancelling the big family feast and opting for a virtual game night instead, but it also provides us with the opportunity to lean hard into the simple holiday traditions that make this season special. Heading outdoors as a family and selecting the perfect Christmas Tree not only creates a magical holiday memory, but it pours back into our local economy and is a smart environmental choice, since tree farms grow them to be harvested and plant more in their place.

We’re sharing the Christmas Tree stories of several local families, all in a celebration of the magic a real tree brings to the season. Some are magical, some are hilarious, some are just simple traditions that make the season special. Plus, we’ll provide info on the many varieties of trees you can choose from and show you lots of local tree farms, tree lots and retail locations where you can find your perfect tree to trim this season.

Keeping it Real : Stories of Christmas Tree Memories

Our children know our Christmas traditions begin at the tree farm. What they don’t know is that this tradition only began for our family with them. Our experience has changed with our children through the years. But one thing remains-every year we meet Grandpa at the tree farm, and the search begins. Our first year at the tree farm, our baby boy ventured out with us bundled in my arms, his first Christmas, and my first Christmas reunited with my birth father. Chopping down his own Christmas tree at the tree farm was always his tradition, but not growing up under his roof, until we finally lost contact altogether, it wasn’t one I was a part of. We reconnected after the birth of my first born son. And my dad was brave and humble enough that year to ask if he could be a part of our Christmas traditions. In years since, our children have come to see the tree farm as their very own Winter Wonderland, dashing through the snow and trees, taking a larger part in choosing THE ONE every year. One day, Grandpa might even pass the torch, of cutting down the Christmas tree, to them. Right now they watch with glee as he works, and I watch in my own world of wonder. The first gift of the Christmas season in our home, year after year, is the time shared between three generations bringing home our perfect Christmas tree.
– Samantha D.

Photo Credit: Samantha Dellis

We go to cut down our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year. We go to our local Christmas Tree Farm. We walk and take in the beauty of their land, roast s’mores, sit by the fire to warm up and just enjoy the kick off for Christmas.
– Michelle T.

After 5 years of being a photographer, I’d have to say that my holiday sessions have become some of my favorite sessions to shoot. I love the lights, the colors, the “feels” of Christmas. Of course, when I’m trying to capture those perfect Christmas moments, I like to create a beautiful, classic, and slightly rustic holiday scene, one that always begins with decorating a real live tree. There’s nothing like a real tree. Photographs feel more authentic, homey, and alive; and, of course, a tree’s amazing smell just adds to the ambiance of the scene. Moreover, a live Christmas tree brings so much magic and joy to my photos.

I’ve learned that, for many families, a Christmas tree is so much more than just a tree; it’s a centerpiece of people’s stories around the holidays.

They have traditions around choosing the perfect tree, decorating it with beautiful memories, and helping their home feel (and smell) like Christmas. As a photographer, it’s a blessing to be able to capture some of these beautiful moments for families, but this is especially true when I’m shooting photos amongst the Christmas trees. There’s nothing like it!
Melissa M, photographer at Melissa Morgan Photography

Photo Credit: Melissa Morgan Photography

This memory of choosing our family’s Christmas Tree wasn’t at all pleasant at the time, but when we look back on it now, it is with pure laughter. We hadn’t opted for a real tree for a couple years and made the spontaneous decision one morning to head to the local tree farm and select the family tree. The surprise was lost on our tween who was not having it because he was wearing his favorite shoes and didn’t want to get them dirty. The rest of us perused the trees, selected the perfect tall and slender Fraser Fir, and we tried to gather the kids together for a photo with the winning tree. Instead, we got the Tween Scowl to end all scowls, but I snapped the picture anyway and now every year that we go to select our tree, we make sure to double-check everyone’s footwear! 
– Sarah K.

The origin of the Christmas pickle ornament tradition isn’t fully clear. Some say it’s a German tradition. Some say it’s a marketing scheme. There are a few variations, but the story goes that the first child to find the pickle on the tree gets the first present, an extra present, or the job of handing out the presents, as well as good fortune for the year. Either way, I received this pickle ornament from my grandmother. It isn’t an heirloom, but I love it just the same. As our kids grow up, I’m looking forward to starting the tradition of finding the pickle with them and the first to find it on the tree will get to open the first present on Christmas. I love the tradition and seeing it on our Christmas tree will always remind me of my grandma Audrey and make me smile.
– Nicole S.
Photo Credit: Samantha Dellis

Why Choose a Real Christmas Tree?

There are many reasons to go with a tree from a local farm versus one you bring out of a box from your basement.

A real tree is something special that literally feels and smells like the holiday season.

This year more than ever, supporting local businesses is crucial, plus getting outside to roam the farm and select that perfect tree is a safe activity that will be easy to maintain social distancing. More than anything else, selecting the family tree is an investment in the experience rather than just a thing. We can see by the stories shared above that there is something unique and powerful about the memories we create at the holidays. This year, it’s all about keeping it real. 

Visit ItsChristmasKeepitReal.com to learn more about the many varieties of trees available in your area and to find a Christmas tree farm or retail location near you using their interactive map! Don’t want to go out to shop? You can even buy a real Christmas tree online at some retailers.

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