Sure, an artificial spruce might be a clean, low-maintenance route for your home’s holiday focal point. But where’s the fun in that?
Although live holiday trees require more care and attention, they also offer more vivid childhood memories, like the scent of fresh pine wafting through the house, or the character of imperfect boughs holding cherished, handmade ornaments.
This year, for the ultimate DIY in holiday décor, choose to chop your own from one of Northeast Ohio’s local tree farms. This safe, socially distanced activity supports our local farmers, as well as our environment — and you don’t need to be a full-blown lumberjack to do it.
For families looking to start a fresh, new holiday tradition, consider the real deal.
What to Bring
Saw. While many tree farms provide you with a hand saw, confirm this is the case with the farm before leaving the house to avoid pulling a Clark Griswold.
Tape measure. Measure the height and width of the tree before making your first cut to ensure it will appropriately fit in your house — and the vehicle that will be hauling it home.
Leather work gloves. To escape sap-soaked palms, swap out your warm ski gloves or favorite wool mittens with work gloves or a pair you’re not attached to before handling the tree.
At least two adults. The average tree is 6-8 feet tall and can be tricky to wrangle on your own. Work together to be sure the experience is as safe and hassle-free as possible.
Tie-down straps. Don’t forget durable ropes or flexible cables to secure the tree for a safe transport home.
Blanket. This is a family event, after all, so get cozy. Bring a warm, waterproof throw on which the kids or anyone not actively chopping down the tree can relax.
Measure Twice, Cut Once. A tree’s size in its natural element may appear larger or smaller compared to where it will reside in your living room. First, measure the floor space and ceiling height of where your fresh-cut evergreen will stand, allowing some extra space for the tree stand and a tree topper, like a star or angel. Second, when the perfect tree catches your eye on the farm, measure its height and widest diameter beneath the bottom branches to be sure you’ll have a perfect fit.
Shake, Bale & Haul. Once the tree is cut, the farm will use a tree shaker to remove any loose needles and debris. Staff can assist with trimming any rogue branches, provide a straight cut at the bottom (best for absorbing water and added stability in the tree stand), and bale or wrap the tree for convenient transport. You can either tie the tree to the top of the car or toss in the back of a pickup truck or large van.
Start a Tradition
This year has challenged us to find simple joys anywhere we can. Choosing the family’s perfect tree should be no exception. Make it an event. Bundle up and take time to stroll the lanes, carefully comparing the short and plumps to the long and leans before settling on “the one.” Bring hot chocolate, build a snowman, slow down and breathe in the crisp air. Hold each other a little tighter knowing, this year, you may have worked a little harder, but we’re all a little closer for it and it’s one we won’t soon forget.
Looking for a farm near you? Visit our list of Christmas Tree Farms around the region!
An Indiana native, Amy Brown is a freelance writer and voice actor with a degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management from Purdue University. She has a background in travel PR and nonprofit marketing, loves all things outdoors, and lives in Northeast Ohio with her family.