Years ago people used to get their fresh cut Christmas trees from a likely source-i.e. the forest. Now almost all of them come from Christmas tree farms.
This is good news for those who want to keep the tree population, well, alive!
Christmas Tree Farm In Michigan
In fact, buying fresh cut Christmas trees is no different than buying fresh corn or tomatoes from a roadside produce stand.
Live trees come from farms in states like Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan and Pennsylvania, though they are grown in all states including Hawaii. Popular trees include the Fraser Fir, Noble Fir, Balsam Fir and Scotch (or Scots) Pine.
So where do people buy fresh cut Christmas trees?
Most get them in the usual places: retail store parking lots and lots run by non-profit organizations like the Boy Scouts.
Any guess as to where people get the most trees? Well, as of Christmas 2011 the retail sales leader was Home Depot, selling about 2 million trees per year or one in fifteen live trees sold.
But there are some other exciting options you may want to consider to make this Christmas extra memorable.
Some tree purchasers, about one in three, buy their tree directly from a "choose and cut" farm. And if you want to create great memories of Christmas, this is a great place to start.
In an all-out effort to attract buyers from far and wide, Christmas tree farmers are coming up with all sorts of creative ways to get people to pay a visit.
Imagine pulling up to a tree farm on a cold, late-fall day and being greeted with a cup of warm apple cider...or hot chocolate and freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies (had to throw that in, being a chocolate "freak" myself!)
For those of you in "snow friendly" areas, how about taking a ride in a one horse open sleigh? Some tree farms offer this as well.
Then for the kids there are visits with Santa, petting zoos, hayrides and more. Some farms even offer gift shops where you can shop for crafts. Or better yet, make them!
Most tree buyers prefer to cut their own tree. But if you want to delay getting your hands dirty- at least until you get home- some tree farmers will cut the tree for you. Even shake the tree for you (they use these automatic shakers) to get rid of loose needles.
They'll even pack it up for you and put it on your car.
So what are you waiting for? If you're interested in getting a tree from a farm, check with the National Christmas Tree Association for a location near you. There are farms in all 50 states.
Yes it's true. Even a top spokesperson for the National Christmas Tree Association, Rick Dungey, has purchased live trees online. Why this instead of cutting one down?
Why not? It's so simple! Yes, I know you're trading that memorable experience for a quickly-delivered "mail order" tree. But you have to admit it's, well, efficient!
So efficient, in fact, that big box retailers are getting on board.
Costco began selling Christmas trees online in 2009. Target came along in 2010, followed by Sears and KMart in 2011.
So far user experiences have been generally good. The downside is you don't know exactly the quality of the tree you're getting because you don't get to preview it. And in most cases you don't know the exact day of delivery- it may be a day or two off.
But retailers are getting really good at doing this. They know how to pick the tree, compress it, pack it in a safe box, even add in a biodegradable disposal bag to use after the holidays.
So overall I think it's a great option. And you get your tree fresh since it's cut within days of delivery.
To purchase live Christmas trees online, check out any online merchant. And don't forget there are Christmas tree farms throughout the country that also deliver fresh cut Christmas trees.
You may have fond memories of going with your family to a forest to cut down your Christmas tree. Fact is, years ago that's what most people did.
If you're dead set on doing this, there is at least one option. With a permit from the U.S. Forest Service you can cut trees down in approved national forests. Most of them are located in western states of the U.S.
In 2010, the permits for western states were $10 per person according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Return to top of Fresh Cut Christmas Trees page.
Return to Live Christmas Trees page.