A Family Tradition: Cutting the Christmas Tree

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We like to do-it-yourself when it comes to holiday decorating and will go the extra effort to choose from the best selection of pumpkins (like we did last month for Halloween) or Christmas trees.

Yesterday we drove out to Fillmore, CA and visited Santa Paula Christmas tree farm. They have a huge selection of Monterey Pines which are uniformly the perfect cone shape and are very fragrant. They also have some firs and spruces mixed in. What’s great at this Christmas tree farm is that you can cut your own tree. Not only do you get the exact tree you want but you know its going to be super fresh. After walking through all the pines we made our way back to the front of the lot and found two beauties that we think are spruces. They didn’t even have price tags on them so they might have figured nobody would want them so we felt good giving them a home in our home.

We brought gloves and a cordless recip saw to make quick work of cutting the tree as well as protect our hands from spiky needles and sap. We had the tree wrapped and it was easy to bring home in the back of our truck.

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We made the trip a family outing and it because it was Hunter’s first tree it made it even more special. My brother Matthew joined us and to this day still loves to tease me about the fake flocked tree decorated only with bears that I insisted upon one year. My taste has changed but I still have fond memories of that tree.

After cutting the trees the boys had a little fun “jousting” but were careful not to damage their new treasures. It’s great to know that Hunter will have good role models to teach him all the important things in life 😉

We’d love to hear your Christmas family traditions. Do you cut your own tree or trim the tree and hang lights together?

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  • Mercedes
    5 Dec ’11 at 2:34 pm

    My family used to have 3 different Christmas trees.  Although they were all fake* it was always fun to decorate the weekend after thanksgiving.  The 13 foot tall tree was the personalized one with all of the different family ornaments, the 7 foot was my mothers with all of her white house ornaments and various other brass ornaments from family trips, and the 3 foot was mine! I collected Santa ornaments to decorate the little guy!

    Now that I am in my own house, I have the three footer to myself, and instead of Santa it’s blue/white and snowmen.  Although I’m a little late on breaking it out due to home projects…  But you’ve got to have a tree for Santa to put the presents under! So it’ll be making an appearance some time this week!

    (*we used to have live trees when I was younger, and I LOVED the smell, but mum, and the vacuum couldn’t take the needles any more!)

    • Built by Kids
      6 Dec ’11 at 3:34 pm

      That’s great that you kept your childhood tree for yourself and little trees are just as awesome as big ones.

  • ~Amoureux de café~
    5 Dec ’11 at 10:04 pm

    LOL at the “fake flocked tree decorated only with bears”!!   Got any pics you’d be willing to share with the world at large??

    One year (I think I was 10?) I just HAD to have a BLUE Christmas tree:  Balls, bulbs, tinsel, garlands…the whole (awful!) 9 yards.  So my long-suffering parents got me my OWN little (fake) tree that I could make into whatever kind of abomination I wanted…and I did…heartily!  😀  So much fun!

    Mom was always the centerpiece, the driving force, behind Christmas at our house.  I’ll always remember the home-made eggnog, cookies by the TONS, clove-studded oranges, cakes, making gaudy/pretty/delightful/what-in-the-world-IS-it ornaments, gorgeous wrapped gifts, watching old Christmas programs on tv (Miracle on 34th anyone??)—Magic!

    Christmas isn’t the same since she passed, but I’ve got boxes and boxes of old ornaments: some really pretty, some stunning, some rather dog-eared, but all are steeped in memories of trees gone by.   

    • Built by Kids
      6 Dec ’11 at 3:33 pm

      Sorry no pics of the bear tree but we are trying to track some down. Blessings to you and your family this Christmas.

  • Karla
    6 Dec ’11 at 10:20 am

    We LOVE Christmas.  Every year we do a big clean out of closets and the toy room and take everything to our local donation center (have to make room for Santa presents). The kids get to decorate the tree.  One year the ornaments were all home made.  Wax paper with crayon chunks melted in the middle and cut into stars, styrafoam balls covered in glue and glitter.  One year they wanted fake poinsetta flowers and jingle bells.  One year was hot wheel cars.  The actual cars.  This year they did all red and gold.  A little victorian/griswald, but I think its gorgeous.

    We string cranberries and popcorn for the birds.  Make tons of cookies. Watch tons of Christmas movies.  The kids celebrate Haunakka with grandpa. They’re not quite old enough to distinguish it from Christmas, but are VERY open to the idea of there being 8 nights of gifts.

    We always adopt a couple of families for the holidays and do dinners and presents for them.  They participate in Angel Tree and in the food pantry donations.  My kids have been blessed enough that they have everything they need and most of what they want, so its nice that they have big hearts and like to share.

    We hang stockings.  This year we have a puppy, so he has his own stocking too.

    • Built by Kids
      6 Dec ’11 at 3:32 pm

      We love how you bring in some other families during your Christmas. It really is all about giving.

  • Jesse
    6 Dec ’11 at 4:10 pm

    My family’s tradition is to pick the most unconventional-looking tree at the farm: the slightly smaller, twisted ones, a la Charlie Brown’s, and decorate it with our variety of quirky home-made and collected ornaments and lights to make it just as beautiful as any other tree out there. The first year that I was allowed to pick out our tree all on my own (when I was very little) I set this precedent (in what I can only imagine was a slightly demanding way!) and we have stuck with it ever since. I continued this tradition with my roommates throughout college, and this year, back in my parent’s house will be no different. We’ve encountered a slight problem in recent years though, in that we’ve not had the opportunity to cut our own trees and the local sellers only offer the most pristine trees available. We have to search even harder for the tree’s that look unwanted and in need of a good home. One year we even asked specifically for what we were looking for and were offered a “reject” tree almost for free! It was absolutely perfect. 

    By the way, Hunter is ADORABLE and I hope he has a wonderful Christmas. We’re going to get our tree this weekend and I am so excited- there’s little I love more than decorating, listening to festive music, and watching Christmas movies! These are definitely some traditions that I can’t wait to pass along to my children… when I have them. 🙂

    • Built by Kids
      6 Dec ’11 at 4:40 pm

      Homemade ornaments are still our favorites and they never go out of style. Thanks for the kind words about Hunter. He’s having a great first Christmas.

  • Kasey Whelton
    9 Dec ’11 at 8:32 am

    Christmas Trees are a sacred tradition as far as I’m concerned. We don’t really have a tradition involved, other than I’m the one who has always gotten to pick which tree we bring home. I never even had a particular kind of tree, or a certain look I wanted – but I always knew which tree was exactly the right one. I let the tree pick me (I realize I’m starting to sound maybe a little bit crazy…but I’m not…maybe a little, but in a good way!). 

    When it comes to decorating, my tree is nowhere near one of those fancy color coordinated trees with matching ribbons and ornament balls. Nope. I call our tree ‘the tree that hallmark threw up on.’ Our ornaments are all either handmade, or bought for a special, specific reason (or gifts of course). We even pick out a new family ornament to hang every year. And we’ve had the same tree topper since I was born – a small cherub that we hang in memory of  my older brother. I’ve always called it ‘the Justin angel.’ My Dad gets the honor of putting it up every year.

    Traditions are so comforting, and as unique and different as every family itself. Thanks for sharing yours and letting us share ours with you. Merry Christmas! 

    • Built by Kids
      9 Dec ’11 at 9:13 am

      Merry Christmas to you and your family

  • Jenni
    12 Dec ’11 at 3:37 pm

    We have a cut your own tree farm near our home, too! 🙂 So fun! Usually we get a tree and then my sisters and I each decorate it with the ornaments we made growing up (we each have our own box…some of mine are falling apart because I made them in the 80’s when I was a kid). Most of our Christmas decorations are handmade by various members of our family over the years…my mom, grandma, and my sisters and me mostly. My aunt crocheted our stockings when we were born. They have our names and birth year on them. I make gingerbread cookies every year (my aunt’s recipe). On Christmas morning we eat French Canadian pork pie (my great grandma’s recipe) for breakfast! 🙂