2020 has been a doozy. One for the books. Our lives have been upended when it comes to work, school, birthdays, and events. It’s time to end this tough year on a good note by making this Christmas the most epic holiday season yet.
One childhood tradition I hope to pass on to my children is the annual hunt for the perfect tree. There’s nothing quite like the smell of a bonafide Christmas tree, and here in the Pacific Northwest, we are blessed to have the real deal all around us. Cold misty mornings, the scent of pine needles in the air… can’t you just feel the holiday spirit? When we bring our gorgeous outdoors inside to our warm, cozy living rooms, we get to “spruce” up (see what I did there??) our lives with a winning recipe for holiday goodness.
We are likely a tad spoiled (in the best possible way) with fresh Christmas trees so close to home, making it easy to #keepitreal this yuletide season. Head in essentially any direction and you’ll find a gorgeous tree, either pre-cut or at one of our favorite u-cut farms.
If you don’t know where to go, check out this handy interactive map for ideas. It lets you sort by zip code and what kind of real-tree experience you prefer (choose and cut farms, seasonal lot, garden center, etc).
Portlanders love keeping the holidays eco-friendly; did you know that for each real Christmas tree that is harvested, another one is planted to replace it? Plus, real trees are biodegradable, taking you one step closer to a zero-waste Christmas.
In a year where so many holiday traditions might have been squandered, the hunt for the perfect tree is a safe, outdoor option for families to spend time together making memories. Many of the u-pick farms go all-out for their holiday offerings, with animals, cider, crafts, and more. This year, it is more important than ever to support local farmers and businesses; consider making a day of it and enjoying the full experience with your crew.
After several years of tree-hunting, below are a few tips on how to make your bringing home a real Christmas tree in 2020 a wild success:
1. Bring an extra set of hands
You might have been able to fly solo at the pumpkin patch with a few kids in tow, but trees are a different story. They are obviously larger and require a bit more thought when it comes to transporting (although many tree farm operations will help you load); having more than one adult participate is recommended.
2. If you have a preferred type of tree, call ahead
Did you know there are more than 18 different species of real Christmas trees? Some people have old favorites, and not all providers have each option on-site. If you know where you are heading for your perfect tree, give them a ring ahead of time to double-check availability.
3. Dress like a true Portlander
Wintertime is cold, wet, and muddy in the PNW. We all know the magic formula is layers, so be sure to load up appropriately. The real zinger is the need for waterproof boots, if feasible, since they will help you fight the elements if either rain or mud try to dampen your spirits. Another great idea is gloves, both for protecting your hands from the cold and for grabbing your favorite fir (or spruce, or pine…).
4. Don’t forget something to protect your car and to secure the tree
A tarp, plastic sheeting, or even a large piece of cardboard can go a long way to keeping your hood happy when you are driving home Griswold-style, once you have your tree loaded and ready for transport. It’s also a great idea to have bungee cords or string to secure the tree tightly. Grab what you need before you head out so that it’s a no-brainer once your tree is ready to rock. PS It’s a good idea to give your tree a hearty shake before loading it up, as surprise bits of debris and even the occasional critter can stay lodged in the branches.
5. Prepare your tree’s space ahead of time
Let’s imagine you have a spot in your living room that will make for the perfect home for your ideal tree. Get that settled in whatever way you need to do so. Move around furniture, set up your tree stand, and have the whole zone squared away BEFORE you bring your new tree through the door. That way, you can unload and set-up in one go, as soon as you bring your new bundle of holiday joy home.
**Bonus tip** Holiday playlists and warm cookies make bringing your new tree home extra memorable. Bake some cookies with the kids beforehand; listen to some tunes and settle in to enjoy your treats while admiring your tree’s splendor. Memories = made!