Real Christmas Trees


On a Sunday just like this, with the first snowfall of the year turning everything into a winter wonderland, Erich and I got our first Christmas tree together — and my very first real Christmas tree.

As exciting as it is to watch my dad pull out fake branches from a battered cardboard box and fit each branch to the right color-coded spot…I’m in love with the real Christmas tree experience.

We went to a family tree farm up in Grafton, WI. It was a small, homey farm. College boys dressed in Santa hats and puffy coats stood around a bonfire, waiting to net and load up trees. Santa sat inside an old, wood stable, just in front of a free hot cocoa bar. The ladies at the register wore elf hats, gave us shots of Jameson whiskey, and made us kiss under their mistletoe (twice, because the first kiss, they said, wasn’t good enough).


As for the tree itself, we picked out a Balsam fir, a six footer without too many awkward gaps. Erich threw down the tarp, handed me the saw, and told me got to cut down our first Christmas tree ever. It was easier than I expected, even with kneeling at an odd angle and sawing with no visibility of the tree trunk.

All the way back to the bonfire of Santa-hatted college guys, I couldn’t stop pestering Erich: “We got a real tree! A real tree!”

It’s been my Christmas dream to cut down a real Christmas tree with the weather as wintry perfect as this, and this experience didn’t disappoint!


(Of course, I forgot to bring my phone, and Erich’s phone died, so we didn’t get any photos of the hot cocoa or Santa or mistletoe or me twirling around in the snow. We’re bad at documenting special moments.)

So what’s the verdict for your family? Real or fake?

9 thoughts on “Real Christmas Trees

  1. Laura Jinkins

    You go girl, forgetting that phone. Seriously — if you’d had your phone, you’d have been distracted. You LIVED in the moment of your long-held dream. Friday I traveled to Nacogdoches, Texas with my sister to attend the viewing of my cinematography student niece’s documentary assignment. We came home late last night, and for a good portion of our visit, I left my phone in the car. It was WONDERFUL. I really enjoyed being fully engaged in the different things we were doing and I’m going to try very hard to continue that habit. :)


  2. Shaun Jex

    Our family’s one experiment with a real tree was an unmitigated disaster. We didn’t cut off the bottom bit of the tree until we’d had it for a couple days and so water was not making it to the branches. By the time we figured out what the problem was all of the needles had died. We never revived them so we had a brown tree throughout December. It shed needles everywhere and when we finally got rid of the tree our entire living room was covered by a blanket of needles. We’ve done fake ever since. I’m sure if we had done it right it would have been great. I loved the smell and appearance of the real tree, but good grief it just didn’t work for us.


    • Bailey Steger

      Oh no!!! Sorry, I’m laughing so hard right now. I’m sure something like that would have happened to me (who knew you had the cut off the lower branches, right?), but my husband’s had real Christmas trees his entire life. He even made a wreath out of the bottom boughs. :| I will say, hauling a wet tree dropping needles everywhere probably didn’t make our apartment-dwellers happy….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bethany

    I’m just so proud of you for the fact that you have a tree skirt. That’s very responsible of you. Or poor little tree is barren in the living room. ;)


  4. korie

    And we have… no tree at all. I’m kind of Scrooge-y, a little bit anti holiday, but mostly anti everything. And lazy. Why put it up when ya gotta take it down? If my kids convince me to one day, I might, but as for now… not into it.

    But it really bugs me that sometimes people interpret my non-celebration to be due to religious conviction or a holier-than-thou attitude. Nope. Couldn’t be further from the truth. I am just lame.

    Yours is very pretty though. Good work.


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