How to Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree

Cutting down a Christmas tree…a treasured Christmas activity for the whole family that you can look forward to each year! Details and tips to make it a successful outing.

Tips for Cutting Down Your Own Christmas Tree

Cutting down our Christmas tree is one of our most beloved and favorite traditions…ever. We’ve gone every single year for years now, and it’s the start of our Christmas season. There’s just something about bundling up and tromping through the snow to cut down your own tree that’s just unbeatable. Even on the years we’ve had no snow, it’s just as magical, and we eagerly look forward to it every year.

It’s not only the smell of the fragrant pine needles that permeate the whole house, or the charming tree imperfections—it’s the wonderful activity of cutting it down, of going out as a family and deciding together which one is the perfect tree for our family.  It’s just… Christmas.

We go the day after Thanksgiving, and we usually have to bundle up—even if there isn’t snow on the ground, it’s cold enough to warrant coats and snow pants.  The two years we lived in Texas we got to wear flip-flops to cut down our tree!

When we get to the tree farm, sometimes we take a hayride out to where the trees are, and other times, when there’s snow on the ground, we take sleds.  We aren’t in a hurry, because the whole process is to be savored. This day only comes once a year! We all walk around and pick our favorite, and then after walking back and forth, and then back again, carefully examining them, we finally select “the one”. 

My husband and oldest son take over the cutting of the tree, but only after we stop and take a picture first, of our family in front of our tree.  I have loved looking at those pictures over the years, and seeing how our family has grown and changed. 

After our tree is down, it’s back on the hay wagon we go! It’s hard not to be engulfed in the Christmas spirit out there in the crisp air, surrounded by Christmas trees, as well as other families on their own Christmas tree quest. 

Once the tree is baled, it’s time to wrestle it on top of our vehicle, and then as we drive away, Christmas songs fill the air and our hearts. The day wouldn’t be complete without hot chocolate, and lots of talk of Christmas wishes and plans.

It really is the perfect day.

Tips For Cutting Down a Christmas Tree

  • If you’re looking for a Christmas tree farm, ask friends and neighbors for their recommendations.  You can also search online for tree farms in your area.  Read about what kind of trees they have, and what you need to bring with you. 
  • MEASURE your space before you go! It’s a good idea to know exactly how big or small (width and height) of a tree you can get.
  • A tree farm will most likely have saws for you to use, but calling ahead or checking their website ahead of time is a good idea. If they don’t have them, or you’re heading out on your own, you’ll need to bring a hand saw.
  • Walk around and look at all the trees first before deciding. There are so many different varieties in shades of green and needle lengths. You don’t want to cut one down, and then pass the perfect tree on your way out!
  • Test for freshness! If you lightly tug on the needles and they stay in place, then it will most likely stay nice and green until Christmas.
  • Cut your tree close to the ground–it will make for a taller tree, and it will allow another tree to sprout.
  • Asking the people at the tree farm about how to best take care of your tree is always a good idea, especially if it’s your first time, or if you’re selecting a different tree variety than you have in the past.  I would also suggest asking before you go out hunting for a tree about what kinds of trees shed more or less needles, have a specific type of smell, or any other items you have in mind.
  • Many tree farms also carry fresh garland and wreaths, and I love using them to decorate my door and mantel.
  • Make sure you bring what you need to tie the tree onto the top of your vehicle. You can use rope, or even the bungee cords, which is what we like.
  • You’ll need to have a tree stand, so you can put it up when you get home.  You can find them at stores like The Home Depot, Lowe’s, your local hardware store, and Amazon.
  • You can be outside for awhile, so if you live in a cold climate, bundling up is a good idea!

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  1. Do you put up your real tree in November then? It’s amazing you don’t have needles dropping all over the place on Christmas Day. I put mine up the week before Christmas and take it down on Jan 6 (so around 4 weeks total) and I think an extra week (like you do) would be a giant mess.

    1. I do put up a real tree in November! There are several types of trees that are known for their needles lasting a long time (and others that are known for the opposite), so those are the ones we stick with. I also water it really well, and I haven’t had a huge problem. There was one year that was a disaster, but it was also a tree that wasn’t on that list–and we should have waited until December if we were going for that type of tree.

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