All of these years and I've never gone out and got a real tree for Christmas. It was always so much easier to drop the $100-150 for a lighted tree at Wal-Mart, plug it in and BOOM, done. Still felt like Christmas right? Well yeah, BUT... I didn't know what I was missing.


photo: Keith James /TSM

We all got bundled up and headed out to Critz Farms in Cazenovia where we went pumpkin picking this past Halloween to find the whole place transformed into Christmas tree mode. They hand you a saw, drop you off buy wagon ride to one of several tree lots to go pick ANY tree for a paltry $40 no matter the size. I was ready for a "Black Friday' shopping experience where families feuded each other for the perfect tree but it was remarkably peaceful with only a handful of other families to peruse the acres of pines.


photo: Keith James /TSM

We all scattered and after auditioning what seemed like dozens of trees, that's when I saw it... a beautiful 11-foot Fraser Fir that I was sure was IT for me (well, us). We got down and started sawing away and within a minute or two, my son called timber and down she went. Piece of cake. The wagon came and grabbed us along with our new addition but now how were we to get this thing home, much less through the door at home?!


photo: Keith James /TSM

We disembarked back at the barn and the guys took our tree and put it through a machine which wrapped it in twine and condensed it to an extremely manageable width, tied it to the top of our car and we were on our way (after snagging some cider and goodies inside, mmmmm).



Because of it's size, the conventional tree stand just wouldn't do it so we had to grab one that could accommodate this tree's girth (another $45). I pounded it into the hole that the attendants had drilled into the bottom of the tree shuffled it inside the house and flipped it back to vertical, only then stripping the twine off to allow the tree to breathe and stretch back out into the shape that beckoned to me back at the farm.


photo: Keith James /TSM

Speaking of breathing, every time we breathe in the air in our house now, there's an aroma of pine that besides the sight of a real tree puts us WAY in the Holiday spirit. And speaking of spirit, we took an otherwise so-so experience of picking up a pre-lit plastic and metal tree off the shelf and setting it up in minutes, to turning it into a whole afternoon/evening of fun for the whole family and a much more authentic product in the end (and cheaper too!). There's a lot to be said for convenience and efficiency, but something gets lost in the process... As always, nothing comes close to substituting for the REAL THING.

However, some have to deal with allergies to these beautiful trees, so the option for them every year will always be artificial, so thank God that option exists otherwise there would be NO trees at their house! You can always get a tree-scented Scentsy  to get that pine tree smell wafting through the house!


photo: Keith James / TSM

Now for the decorations!! Stay tuned! In the meantime take the family to THIS below...

RCIL's 2013 Wonderland Of Lights, Utica NY