Upholding longstanding traditions can be fun. Carefully unwrapping the star each year for the top of the Christmas tree — the star you’ve used since the ’80s — can bring you comfort, the comfort that comes with knowing at least one thing is always going to be there for you.
The fact that more of the gold paint flakes off every year, and two of the five points are a little closer together than they were before that time you dropped it, only makes it more endearing to you.
Or does it? It can depend more on your mindset than anything else, but sometimes you’re just ready to toss out the old and welcome the new.
So if you’ve always bought your Christmas tree from the place that sets up in the empty lot near your house, maybe this year you’ll be ready to try venturing out into the suburbs to cut down your own tree.
Forget the gay apparel for this trip — instead, don some plaid flannel and a pair of boots from L.L. Bean and head out to a local Christmas tree farm. Ah, that crisp, cold air, the crunch of snow under your feet and smell of pine needles — there’s nothing like it! This is especially true in DMV lately, where temps in the 60s in December are not unheard of, and some years pass by with nary a snowflake gracing the chimney tops.
You may get really sweaty in your boots and flannel cutting down your tree, but do like the Brawny Paper Towel guy and just roll up your sleeves. Cutting down your own Christmas tree might be as close to living off the land as you can get here, so don’t let the weather get you down.
In Montgomery County:
Butler’s Orchard has a selection of Douglas firs, but you’d better hurry — they don’t have many. This is not due to poor planning on their part as much as it is to the sudden spike in popularity of cutting down your own Christmas tree. You get a rush on customers for this product, you can’t just jump online when you run out and pay extra shipping to have more delivered overnight. Mother Nature will not be rushed.
If you miss your chance to cut your own tree here, you can still get one — they just won’t be growing out of the ground so much as lying atop it.
Homestead Farm isn’t reporting any shortages, but they’re only open two more days this season: Dec. 10 and 11. They also offer pre-cut trees as well.
Naughty Pine Nursery in Dickerson is convenient to those in western Montgomery County as well as northern Arlington County. They offer a nice selection of Douglas firs, blue spruces and Norway spruces.
In Prince George’s County:
Linden Hill Christmas Tree Farm in Upper Marlboro has Douglas firs, Norway spruces, white pines and some concolor firs. We missed tag day, when you can put down a deposit and claim the tree of your choice for later, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of good ones left.
The Pines Farm in Brandywine (no website, call 301-579-2522) has white pines, Scotch pines, white spruces and Douglas firs you can cut yourself, or precut Frasier firs.
Loundon County is where you’ll find more than a dozen Christmas tree farms, including: Buttonwood Farms and Lowelands Farm in Middleburg; Country Loving Christmas Tree Farm and Day Star Farm in Leesburg; Loudon Nursery and Stonehaven Tree Farm in Purcellville; Middleburg Christmas Tree Farm, Pruitt’s Little Farm and Snickers Gap Tree Farm in Round Hill; Milltown Creek Tree Farms in Lovettsville; Ticonderoga Farms in Chantilly; and Wolff Tree Farm in Hamilton.
Many of the locations in all three counties offer other activities as well, including hayrides, visits with Santa, snow tubing, s’more making and the opportunity to warm yourself by a fire pit with a nice mug of hot cocoa.
Always call or check a farm’s website before heading out to make sure they still have trees left.
Click here to find even more locations for Christmas tree farms in Virginia and Maryland.
BY MARIA BUNNEWITH