Why We Always Get a Real Christmas Tree


If our family had a spirit animal, it would be Clark Griswold. Real trees – the kind you go to a tree farm and cut down –  have been part of Christmas for as long as I can remember.

I grew up in a small town with a Christmas tree farm just on the edge of it. Entire elementary school classes would go and pick out a tree for their classrooms. Our family and most of the people in town did the same.

My brothers and I would argue over which tree we should get – with our mom always winning every year except one. The year we couldn’t decide. So, my parents let us get three real Christmas trees and we each decorated our own. That’s just one of my many tree-hunting memories.

I was in college the year our family got three trees. Sometimes, you just can’t decide!

My husband and I got married in late November and came back from our honeymoon with Christmas in full swing. We picked up a tree at a hardware store that year…and I cried about it. I’m mostly German, I don’t cry.

I realized it had nothing to do with the tree and everything to do with the experience. For me, it was a tradition I needed to continue.

Every year we load our boys up and head to Strautman’s Tree Farm in Cambridge. There has been crying, fighting, and cursing under one’s breath when the tree won’t come down easily. But it all ends well with hot apple cider and cookies in the tree shed.

This year was extremely Griswold-ish. The boys were WWE fighting between the trees and arguing over the best one. When we got the tree home, it fell over while we were setting it, trapping my husband’s hand between the metal stand and the stump. He was fine but fairly dramatic about it. This led us to Lowe’s (on Black Friday of all days) to get a new tree stand.

An unexpected trip to Lowe’s for a new tree stand turned out well – Santa was there!

Real trees aren’t without their struggles but they sure make for memories (and adventures). If you’re thinking you should follow in Clark’s steps, here are a few tips to get you off on the right foot.

Bring a tape measure and an adventurous attitude if you decide to go cut down your Christmas tree (and yeah, that one was way too big!).

Tips for a real Christmas tree: 

  • Most tree farms are family owned and they’re happy to help with any questions you have. Ask!
  • If you bring your own power saw, the tree goes down a little easier. But, all tree farms have hand saws.
  • Take a tape measure. Just trust me. They look so small in a giant field.
  • Tree farms usually net your tree and some places will even tie it on top of your car for you.
  • Buy the big tree bag at the tree farm. Put your stand on top of it and then set your tree. Your tree skirt will cover it.
  • Don’t cut the netting off the tree until your tree is up and straight.
  • The tree will suck a ton of water at the beginning so check it daily.
  • When Christmas is over, just pull the bag up over the tree and take it to a local disposal.

Does your family get a real Christmas tree? 

christmas tree


  1. Going to a Christmas tree farm to get our tree has been a fun tradition for our family too. We are lucky and have two Christmas tree farms within a 5 mile radius of our home. We buy our tree from one and we buy real wreaths for our house, my in-laws and my kids teachers at the second. Nothing beats the smell of a real tree and wreath!

  2. That is awesome! It’s honestly one of the best things about Christmas for me – and what a good idea to buy wreaths for teachers!


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