Posted by: Kath Usitalo | December 7, 2012

Tips for Your REAL Christmas Tree Hunt

We found last year's tree Michigan-grown Christmas tree at Eastern Market

We found last year’s tree Michigan-grown Christmas tree at Eastern Market

It’s time to pop the corn and turn on the holiday movies to keep me company while I make old-fashioned garland for our real Christmas tree.

You can buy old fashioned Christmas trees and other holiday greens outside Henry Ford Museum

You can buy old fashioned Christmas trees and other holiday greens outside Henry Ford Museum

I love the glow of the big colorful bulbs and the aroma of fresh greenery. But before we tangle with the lights and sort through the eclectic mix of ornaments we need to conduct our annual tree hunt.

When the kids were young we cut ours down at Christmas tree farms but in recent years we’ve headed to Detroit’s Eastern Market and once or twice to The Henry Ford, where the museum sells old-fashioned Balsam Firs and a variety of greens at the lot outside of Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village in Dearborn (But hurry, in the past they’ve sold out quickly!).

Head to a choose and cut farm with the help of the membership listing at Michigan Christmas Tree Association (most also have pre-cut trees if you don’t want to go out into the field and saw one down yourself). We’ve even hauled a couple of trees from the Upper Peninsula, where we cut them on our lot at Blue Skies.

A painting by the late Ken Haines

A painting by the late Ken Haines

Here some tips if you’re heading out to a Christmas Tree farm:

– check with the farm in advance to confirm whether they grow the type of tree you like
– some–not all–farms specialize in tall trees, so if that’s what you need, inquire before you go
– remember, the trees are dwarfed by the great outdoors so know the ceiling height and floor space you have available; some farms have tall measuring sticks in the field to help you gauge the tree size
– leave the chainsaw home; only handsaws are allowed (again, most farms supply handsaws)
– dress for the weather; one year we saw a young woman in heels and skimpy leather jacket not quite appropriate for the winter chill, the wagon ride, and stomping around the snowy field
– use the tree farm porta potty before taking the bumpy wagon ride to the field
– if the farm does not sell refreshments, bring a thermos of hot chocolate to warm up with after the hunt
– remember the camera!
– but leave Fido at home
– keep in mind Charlie Brown’s imperfect little tree, and how some TLC can camouflage any irregularities

Tucker the Wonder Dog---he never smiles when I want him to

Tucker the Wonder Dog—he never smiles when I want him to…but at least he leaves the tree alone!

Michigan is third in the U.S. in number of Christmas trees harvested, but growers here offer a wider variety of trees than in any other state.

People like their poinsettias: in 2011 Michigan added 2.1 million plants to holiday decor, and the state was the seventh largest grower in the nation.

For more about caring for real Christmas trees and Michigan-grown poinsettias check out the website Make It A Real Michigan Christmas.

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  1. Detroit’s Eastern Market and the Henry Ford are two of my favorite places. Your post harkened me back to both. Thanks!

    • Would love to get to the Holiday Nights at Greenfield VIllage this year.

  2. Last year we cut ours in Huron-Manistee National Forest. Have to get tags for $5 each at the forest station (we went to Mio). This year we did Henry Ford again, next year we’ll go to Eastern Market. The forest tree looked just like pics of Joulukuusi in Finn homes!

    • Hi Kathy! What a great tip…never heard that you could hunt trees in the National Forest. Yes, we have some wooden and straw ornaments from Finland and little tonttus that my mom made out of strips of birch and red felt!

  3. I want to string popcorn also. First, we need to pick out a tree. I want one just like Dad used to bring from the U.P. They’re hard to find around here. Nice picture of Tucker.

    • Karen, they have Balsam FIrs at Greenfield VIllage. But the ones Dad brought home were a scrawnier kind…not sure what type they were.

  4. Hey, Kath ~
    Cool ‘Mighty Mac’ ornament!

    • Good eye, Ellie!

  5. We’ve gotten our trees at Blake’s in Romeo the past few years…yup, at the cider mill…and you get a free hot cider with every tree you purchase. You can cut your own, or choose from the freshly cut trees in their lot.
    Nothing beats a real Michigan tree 🙂

    • …and hot cider, too. Good deal!

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