My daughters and I have a lot of Christmas traditions, and many of them are centered around giving back and volunteering.
Unfortunately, we are unable to visit memory care homes or soup kitchens this year, but we are grateful that can still help others in many ways.
I keep reminding myself to focus on what we have and not what we don’t have, to cherish what we experience and not pout about what we’re missing out on. It’s hard!
So this year, with the help of our friends at Chevrolet, we did something we’ve never done to get into the Christmas spirit:
We went down to a tree farm and cut our own Christmas tree together!
O Christmas tree
Now, my daughters and I have talked about having a fresh tree for Christmas in passing, but we’ve never really even let ourselves really think (or dream) about it for some reason.
I’m so happy I said YES to Chevrolet’s invitation and having the all new Chevy Suburban 2021 really helped us have the best Christmas tree cutting experience!
Since the average time a well-nurtured Christmas tree will tree hold its needles is about three to four weeks, we waited until the the second week in December (which happens to be my birthday week!) to get our tree.
We usually have our tree up past January 6th, which is when we celebrate Los 3 Reyes Magos, so this was the perfect time to go get our tree so it doesn’t dry out before Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar of India “come to visit.”
12 Holiday Tree Chopping Tips
Our friends at Chevrolet helped us make the most of our Christmas Tree adventure by providing a few helpful tree chopping tips for cutting our holiday tree.
I want to share this short guide to cutting your own Christmas Tree with you, and I’m adding a few of my own tree chopping tips, of course!
Whether this is your first time cutting down your own Christmas tree, like it was for us, or even if it’s a treasured yearly family tradition that you feel you’ve already got the hang on, these expert tips will help you.
From the things you should know before you cut down your Christmas tree, how to safely chop it down and transport it, to what to do when you bring it home, you’re covered!
Visit A Fun Tree Farm
My daughters and I went down to a tree farm in Cleburne and we had such a memorable time together!
The smell of the evergreens, the cool fresh Texas winter air, the hay rides, the farm animals, the sand pit, the mazes, the friendly staff…
All the fun holiday related activities and being together – completely unplugged – was just so special.
Many people love to go to the woods and cut their own tree there, though you need a permit.
I think that going to the tree farm is a fantastic idea for a mom, especially if you have little ones.
When you visit a tree farm, you’ll not only get more uniformity in size and shape of the Christmas tree, you’ll actually take time to enjoy your holidays!
Be Prepared Before Going Tree Hunting
Before you embark on your Christmas tree search journey to cut down and take home, you want to make sure to measure there’s space in your home and car.
You’ll want to know exactly what size tree will fit as you pick one out.
Measure your ceiling height so you leave enough room for the tree topper! Naturally, this means you decide in advance, with the members of your family, where the tree should go.
Visiting a tree farm to cut down your own Christmas tree is a much easier process when you are properly prepared.
You want to leave early, fill up the tank, bring snacks and water, and all the supplies you’ll need.
Call the holiday tree farm in advance and ask what they provide, so you can bring the rest.
We didn’t have to buy much, because the tree farm we went to provided almost everything we needed.
Supplies Needed To Cut Your Own Christmas Tree
- Bow saw, buck saw, (or any lightweight hand saw) or chopping axe
- Tape measure or measuring stick
- Blanket or tarp to sit on
- Netting to wrap the tree once it is cut
- First-aid kit
- Wet wipes to clean up pine needles and sap
- Rope, twine, or bungee cords to strap the Christmas tree to the car
- Thick heavy-duty work gloves
- Sun glasses to protect your eyes…
And don’t forget your camera!
Decide on what role everyone will have ahead of time, so there is no fighting.
We decided early on that Elisha would cut the tree, as well as what size and shape we wanted, and that worked out really well for our family.
Dress The Part When You Go Christmas Tree Shopping
I already mentioned gloves for protection from tree sap, but besides thinking about safety in your tree cutting excursion, you want to make sure you dress comfortably and as warm as the weather calls for.
I bundled up my little ones, but we all dressed in layers so we could stay cozy, and since this is a wonderful holiday ritual, I also planned for some cute matching pictures.
Comfy footwear is a must, and boots are a good idea, especially waterproof hiking boots, if you have them.
Be sure to bring something to kneel on while you cut your tree down. We all wore jeans and Elyssa and Eliana wore their boots, while the rest of us wore our tennis shoes.
Do avoid clothing that is too loose on you! Our Pat Pat matching hoodies were perfect for the occasion!
Pick The Right Christmas Tree
Most Christmas tree farms have a lot of options to choose from, so it’s important to take your time and inspect the trees before you pick one out together as a family.
We loved walking around the lot, enveloped by the magical pine scent, and looking at the trees by size, shape, and shade.
We worked together in finding THE ONE: the one Christmas tree that would be perfect for us and that we all could agree on.
The National Christmas Tree Association recommends testing out the branches to make sure the tree isn’t too dry or unhealthy.
And that we did:
No signs of storm, fire or insect damage.
No bald spots or dead patches.
No nests in the branches or trunk of the tree
No burrows near the roots
No musty odor
No dull color
No wrinkled bark
No dead animals, bugs, or spiders – yikes.
A fresh tree will have sticky sap on the trunk and the branches should not brittle or snap easily.
We chose a beautiful tree from the ones the farm helpers told us we could cut. We shook it off to let off any loose pine needles, too.
Our first real Christmas tree has a strong fragrance, very resistant, and with stiff branches to hold our beautiful ornaments and Christmas decorations.
Goldie Locks would have approved – not too tall, not too short… just right. No buyer’s remorse whatsoever!
Use A Good Tree Chopping Technique
After you pick the ideal Christmas tree, it’s time to saw it down and take it home!
Place the bow saw at the base of the tree, facing away from you, and cut your tree low to the ground and straight across. Have a buddy pull the tree slightly away from the side you’re cutting to prevent the saw from binding and make it easier to cut all the way through.
You’re supposed to leave a stump less than five inches tall after you cut your tree. That makes for a taller Christmas tree and allows the tree to re-sprout, too!
The tree falls to the side on which you are cutting it, so I was able to prevent it from falling over and losing any of its beauty or the opportunity for regrowth, and to make it a safe experience.
Elisha was our designated tree cutter and I decided to be her buddy.
She chopped that Christmas tree like a pro, even though it was her first time, and it took her just a few minutes!
She made it look easy but I assure you, it is hard work!
Use Cross-Rails To Carry Your Tree Home
We walked across the field and carefully carried the Christmas tree out to the tractor ride.
What an amazing feeling!!!
When you drag the tree, the needles and bark can rub off.
Christmas trees look so fluffy that I was surprised that it was heavier than I expected.
If available, properly installed cross rails on the roof of your vehicle are the preferred way to transport the tree home. Creating a hitching post with the roof rails makes it easier to tie the tree down.
The Chevy Suburban 2021 was the best way to take the best tree home!
Use a sleeve For Your Christmas Tree
The tree shouldn’t be longer than the roof of your car once wrapped up.
That wasn’t a problem with the 2021 Suburban, because it fit amazingly and there was even room to spare.
Christmas trees should be put into netting or a sleeve for easy transport and to prevent wind damage on the drive home. It also makes pulling the tree off the car much easier.
The farm we visited used a mechanical shaker, put the Christmas tree on its netting, and tied it to our vehicle for no additional cost.
You can call your local farm and find out if they do this, too!
Transport Your Christmas Tree Stump-first
With the tree in its proper sleeve, now you will position the tree stump-end towards the front of your vehicle.
This is the most aerodynamic way to transport your tree home.
Tie Down Your Christmas Tree Tight
Lay your tree directly overtop the cross rails, loop twine over and around, and repeat to cinch with a “figure-8” motion.
This technique will help protect the tree from moving around while you drive.
We even drove through a Christmas lights display with our tree in tow!
Stabilize Your Christmas Tree
You can always use more twine and crisscross across the street for extra support if you need it.
The tree farm helpers looped the straps through the doors (not the windows).
Use Natural Christmas Decorations
In honor of my birthday, Elisha is making homemade ornaments with all the names of Christ burned onto wood to go on our beautiful Christmas tree.
We like to keep Christ in Christmas and remember the reason for the season!
Miniature lights are best because they have the brightness without the heat.
Keep Your Christmas Tree Healthy
We bought a tree stand at the tree farm that could hold a lot of water to keep our Christmas tree fresh.
Make sure you put your tree into water immediately when you get home and keep constantly checking on its water levels. The water shouldn’t be too cold or it will shock the tree!
Elisha and Elyssa fastened it and made an inch-wide cut to the tree trunk so it could absorb the water and nutrients more easily.
Also, place the Christmas tree away from heat sources like heaters, fireplaces or radiators, or sunlight that can dry it out, so it can stay healthy and alive!
With a little tender loving care, a real Christmas tree can last up to five weeks, and it must be taken down before it dries up so it doesn’t become a fire hazard.
Why We Loved Getting a Self-Cut Tree
Cutting your own Christmas tree as a family is one of those family traditions that I didn’t know I needed so much in my life.
I think it’s one of those things you can’t do it just once.
Going to the tree farm was the perfect excuse to get out of the house and enjoy a bit of fresh air, spending time together in the outdoors.
I actually never knew that cutting a tree down was good for the environment!
Unlike plastic ones, real Christmas trees are one hundred percent recyclable and biodegradable.
There are so many options to dispose of it – it can be used for mulch, burned, or used as shelter for birds.
I recently found out that there are some cities that offer to pick up your old Christmas tree and even if they put it in a landfill, it breaks down naturally.
And besides the magic of enjoying our tree over our favorite holiday, my favorite part is that real Christmas trees are produced locally and, therefore, in getting one, we are helping our community.
We found out that the tree farm owners moved to Texas in 1985 and have been tree farming ever since.
They create jobs for really sweet and noticeably hard-working people and I want to support that.
Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
Even though we don’t exchange presents, we sure have lots of cherished memories gathering around the Christmas tree, usually with a cup of hot cocoa on hand.
Our tree is draped with meaningful family ornaments, many of them keepsakes of the most beautiful memories, so having a real tree makes it even more special!
A New Family Tradition
I had no idea that cutting down our own Christmas tree would be so fun, and I’m grateful for Chevrolet to help us have a plan in place.
Going to a Christmas tree farm and bringing a fresh-cut Christmas tree home will be a tradition we plan to keep alive.
Creating new traditions with the whole family is one of my favorite things about motherhood.
I’m so grateful Elisha could be here for this wonderful experience with her sisters, especially since college was challenging for her.
We unplugged and have some fun stories to tell for years to come.
We LOVE The All-New 2021 Chevy Suburban
And if you haven’t heard it enough, I’m here to confirm that we definitely love the iconic Chevy Suburban.
It’s been fully redesigned with more room for people and cargo, advanced technologies and unmatched driving experience. So spacious!
It was just perfect to celebrate my birthday week and have some holiday fun with the girls.
Plus, we could fit my amazing brother in – since he is visiting for the holidays.
They loved going to the drive-in and watching one of our favorite Christmas classics: ELF!
The 2021 Suburban High-Country which can be distinguished by its unique High Country signature grill, sill plates and interior stitching.
My daughters loved the rear-seat media system and the 4G LTE WiFi— Are you surprised?
For me, the safety features like the Head-Up Display and HD Camera Views are my main priority. Automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, following distance indicator and intellibeam auto high beams all come standard, too.
You can learn more about this sweet ride at Chevrolet.com!
Have you ever cut down your own tree? Share your holiday tree stories and your best tips on how to find, chop, haul, and care for your Christmas tree and tell me which of these Chevrolet tips for cutting down your own holiday tree you love most!
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM
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