Saturday, November 27, 2010



The turkey leftovers are gone, the pumpkins are starting to cave in on themselves with rot, and the decorative bales of hay have been completely picked apart by DIY squirrels and birds looking for building materials for their winter homes.
Alas, it’s time to get your Christmas tree. I'm a true believer in driving half-way across the state to cut down our own tree in an attempt to create a scene from Currier and Ives that we can paste in the family photo album. Admittedly, all I’ve been able to capture with my digital camera with built-in video recorder are Kodak moments such as my husband slicing his finger open with a rusted saw as he made his first attempt at cutting the trunk of a tree, a family photo where his lips are pursed not in preparation to blow me a kiss, but to release the most hellacious curse words that mankind has ever invented, a WWF wrestling match between me and a woman who tried to cut down the tree I had tagged for cutting, and my son’s coat sleeve going up in flames as he roasted marshmallows over an open fire. Ah, holiday memories. It's why therapy was invented.
          Yes, cutting our own Christmas tree has become a family tradition. Why not make it a family tradition for your family too? Rest assured. Almost all cut-your-own Christmas tree farms will cut them for you. They frown on bleeders--it's bad for business. Advice: if you're cutting the tree yourself bring sturdy gardening gloves to wear because the needles will puncture your skin and cause your partner to release words that no child should ever hear. Also, keep in mind that most farms accept cash only. 
I've also attached a list of the different types of Christmas trees available for chopping. I love Blue Spruce Trees, but I learned the hard way that when it's time to dispose of them their needles will leave track marks causing all sorts of office gossip Monday morning. 
So, here's my list of "cut-your-own" Christmas Tree Farms. If you have a farm that your family visits that's not on the list, please let me know so we can add it.

Dixiedale Farms, 347 Hillside Ave & River Road, Chatham, NJ  Family owned and operated since 1911, Dixiedale farms is a short ride from Bergen County. My family has cut Christmas trees from Dixiedale and we’ve never been disappointed. We’ve always gone in the late afternoon when there are no crowds. The town of Chatham is also a great place to grab a bite to eat or a cup of hot chocolate. Open Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. November 27-December 19.

Hidden Pond Tree Farm, 4 West Field Road, Mendham, NJ
Last year my family went to Hidden Pond Tree Farm to cut down our tree. Despite the fact that we went in the late afternoon, we still waited about 45 minutes to get into the farm, but once we were admitted it was a wonderful experience. Aside from roaming the farm looking for the perfect tree, they offer free hot chocolate and marshmallows that the children can roast over an open fire. We watched the sun set as we roasted marshmallows. It was pretty magical.The people who work the farm couldn’t be more helpful or nice. It was a great and memorable day out! Open daily November 26 – December 24 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Jack on his way to find the perfect tree at Hidden Pond Tree Farm
Fleming Farms, 55 Kings Highway, Long Valley, NJ
Fleming Farms has a limited amount of Douglas Fir and Blue Spruce between 4’ and 8’. Open weekends December 4- December 19. Saturdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Village Tree Farm, 8 Meyersville Road, Green Village, NJ Open weekends November 28, 29, December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. To make the day even more fun for the kids The Village Farm is offering hay rides pulled by an antique tractor, cookies, candy canes and while supplies last a free coloring book! This year they will also be offering photography service where your pets and children can have their picture taken with two of Santa's Reindeer!

Bunker Hill Christmas Tree Farm, 118 Bunker Hill Rd, Griggstown, NJ Weekends 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Cut your own Christmas Tree at Bunker Hill. Choose from a wide variety of trees.

Shale Hill Christmas Tree Farm, 98 Pond School Road, Sussex, NJ Open weekends Thanksgiving to Christmas from 9:30 a.m. to dark. All trees are $75. Cut Your Own Pines, Spruces and Firs, NJ State Fair Award Winning Trees. Adorable farm animals, Tasty Refreshments, The “REAL” Santa Claus. Christmas movies in the hayloft!

Evergreen Valley Christmas Tree Farm, 71 Jackson Valley Rd. Washington, NJ  Open Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. November 26 –December 23. 10,000 trees to choose from. Douglas-fir, Canaan fir, Frasier fir, Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, White pine, Scotch pine.  Refreshments on Weekends, Wagon Rides, Tree Gift Wrapping, Wreaths and Roping.

Plut’s Christmas Tree Farm, Rt 31, Washington, NJ (2-1/2 miles south of the intersection of Routes 57 and 31) Family-owned and operated since 2000, Plut’s is open Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Trees start at $35. After cutting your tree visit the gift shop.

Wyckoff’s Tree Farm, 249 Country Road, Belvidere, NJ  Family owned since 1839, Wyckoff’s Tree Farm has been featured in the NY Times. Open daily beginning November 27th 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. You will find an ample supply of both cut-your-own and fresh cut trees available. Wyckoff’s Farm starts the season with approximately 5,000 trees available including: Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce & Concolor Fir. Wyckoff’s also has a gift shop that features wreaths and ornaments.

Glenview Farm, 2 Glenview Lane, Blairstown, NJ
Located atop the picturesque Kittatiny Mountain Range, come and cut your perfect tree. Open daily beginning November 26th  9 a.m. to dark. Large assortment of Spruce, pine and fir trees. Refreshments are available.

Jolly Holly Christmas Tree Farm, 56 Maple Lane, Blairstown, NJ
All trees $48 no matter what size. Open weekends beginning Thanksgiving weekend through December 19th 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Santa comes to visit!

Stonerow Tree Farm, 242 Wykertown Road, Branchville, NJ
All trees $50. Open weekends November 27th -December 12th. Stonerow also has the Merry Moose Gift Shop where you can find all kinds of holiday decorations and gift ideas.

Holiday Tree Farm, 44 Augusta Hill Road, Augusta, NJ
Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday beginning November 26th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All trees $59 regardless of type or size. The Christmas Shoppe offers holiday decorations, gifts, and refreshments.

Edwards’ Christmas Tree Farm, 338 Jacobstown-Cookstown Road, Wrightstown, NJ 
Open seven days a week beginning November 26th from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Wreaths and ornaments are also available for sale. Trees vary in price according to size from $40 for a 3 to 5 foot tree to $70 for a tree 9 foot and taller.

Anne Ellen Tree Farm & Shoppe, 114 Daum Road, Manalapan, NJ
Open daily from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Thanksgiving weekend to December 23rd.  Over 100 acres of trees to choose from and Santa visits on the weekends! Anne Ellen Tree Farm is also an ideal place to grab a cup of hot chocolate and a cookie and have a picnic. Anne Ellen’s also has a holiday shoppe that will personalize your ornaments while you wait.

Simonson Farm, 118 Dey Road, Cranbury, NJ
Open weekends beginning November 26th 10 a.m. – 3:30pm. Featured on CNBC, Simonson Farm has two fields with over 50 acres of trees to choose from. Wagon rides and horse-drawn carriage rides available.   Simonson Farm has a Holiday Shoppe that features wreaths and other holiday gifts.

Barclay’s Christmas Tree Farm, 35 Orchardside Drive, Cranbury, NJ
Open weekends Thanksgiving through Christmas 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. All trees up to 9 feet are just $45. Over 9 feet just $70. Dogs ok on leashes.

Cherryville Farms, 352 Quakertown Road, Pittstown, NJ  
Open weekends beginning Thanksgiving 9 a.m. to dark. Cherryville Farms is a family-run farm that offers the best in cut your own trees. They also offer handmade wreaths and crafts for sale. Hot chocolate provided with a tree purchase.

Wintergreen Christmas Tree Farm, 14 Gorney Road, Lafayette, NJ  
Open weekends beginning Thanksgiving to December 19th 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Wintergreen Christmas Tree Farm is a family-run farm that offers a large selection of Christmas trees to choose from. Leashed pets o.k.

Perfect Christmas Tree Farm, 999 U.S. 22, Phillipsburg, NJ
Perfect Christmas Tree Farm is owned and run by John and Cynthia Curtis, the farmer and his wife. You can take a hayride out to the fields or walk across the covered bridge to find the perfect tree. Watch wreaths being made and decorated in the barn and then come inside & warm up by the fire in the Gift Shop. Children find Santa’s Box – a special trunk filled with small toys for good boys and girls, irresistible.

Spruce Goose Farm, 194 Bordentown-Georgetown Road(Rt 545) 
Chesterfield, NJ
Open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Spruce Goose Farm is a family-owned farm. Ride the wagon into the fields to cut your tree and then visit the gift shop.

The Evergreen Farm, 4 Bass Lane, Lebanon, NJ
Open weekends beginning Thanksgiving through Christmas 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Family-owned and operated, The Evergreen Farm has a number of different types of Christmas trees all in the 6 to 9 foot range.

Types of Christmas Trees:

Douglas Fir

- The most popular Choose-n-Cut tree in NJ
- Outstanding needle retention and fragrance
- Soft needles about one inch in length

Canaan Fir (a Balsam variety)

- Closely resembles a Frazer Fir
- Needle retention is excellent
- Branches are somewhat stiffer than Douglas Fir
- Excellent fragrance

Norway Spruce

- Rich dark green color
- Stiff branches to hold heavy ornaments
- Needles are prickly
- To maximize needle retention, Norway’s should be
kept in a cool spot, and regularly watered. Don’t let it
run out of water!
- Use of a tree preservative is recommended

Blue Spruce

- Indigo Blue to dark green in color
- Stiff branches hold heavy ornaments
- Needles are prickly
- Good needle retention
- The premier ornamental evergreen

Concolor Fir (also White Fir)

- Silver-blue foliage with flattened needles about two to
three inches long.
- Branches are stiffer than Douglas Fir
- Excellent needle retention
- Unique fragrance

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