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Favorite Christmas Memories In Central New York: Buttenschon Tree Farm

Joern Haufe, Getty Images
Joern Haufe, Getty Images

Decisions, decisions. There are so many that come with a Christmas celebration.

Buy a gift or give a gift card? Bring wine or a cheese platter? Two helpings or three? Nap after dinner? Apple pie, cheesecake or cookies?

Before the inevitable choice that you’ll dabble in all of the Christmas dessert offerings, you’ll need to find a tree. And, my vote has always been for a real Christmas Tree.

It’s more than the authentic pine smell and the unmatchable light and/or dark greens and the fullness of a real tree.

As a child, for me, it meant riding into a lot on a sleigh – in many cases with snow flakes falling – and finding our tree.

Buttenschon Farm in Marcy seemed like a miniature road trip to me as a child. We drove all the way from East Utica to Marcy – this magical place that offered sleigh rides and your pick of Christmas trees, not pre-cut and netted so you didn’t have to guess what it would look like at home. Here, you travel via sleigh – Santa’s choice of transport – to a field that seemed like it had hundreds of trees to choose from. And, still in the ground, all sprawled out so you could see any bare-spots or crooked growths.

Then its cut down, netted and loaded back onto the sleigh.

We have our tree!

I haven’t been back to Buttenschon’s since I was 12 or 13. I guess I kinda outgrew that thrill in my teenage years.

But, it’s funny…it’s one of the first things I think of every season.

The cold crisp air crashing against my face as we rode on a sleigh that looked identical to sleigh’s I had seen Santa in before. Then debating, was this one too tall, or too wide.

As a child, I remember feeling a sense of pride about my selections. I mean, I had some kind of responsibility at such a young age, didn’t I? For the next month, this tree would be real live decor in our home, on display for everyone to see. We took pictures and shared them with family.

And, yes, I picked out that tree.

”You should have seen it,” I would say, ”.. it was next to these other two trees in the fifth row. I was gonna pick one in the third row but it had this….”

However the story went, or whatever scientific method I used to disqualify the other trees, this was the one. This was it. We had to have this one. If we didn’t get this very tree, then Christmas just wouldn’t have been the same.

Sometimes, I laugh at how silly a thought that was. Christmas wouldn’t have been the same without that tree? How foolish?

Then, about this time of year, I remember something else: Sometimes, I’m wrong.

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