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. http://www.dixiedalefarm.com/
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. http://www.hiddenpondtreefarm.com/
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. http://www.flemingfarms.com/
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! http://www.villagechristmastreefarm.com/visit.html
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. http://www.bunkerhilltreefarm.com/bunkerhill/index.htm
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! http://www.njchristmastrees.com/
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. http://www.evergreenvalleychristmastrees.com/index.html
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. http://plutfarms.embarqspace.com/#
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. http://wyckoffs.com/index.htm