I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I had 4 Thanksgiving Dinners last week. Yes, Seriously. But they were each awesome. Now I'm just super full and don't want to eat again until Christmas. (And by 'Christmas' I mean the next opportunity for endless delicious food homemade by others.)
My family has an annual tradition where the day after Thanksgiving, we go to the mountains and cut down a live Christmas tree. It sounds very rustic, but in North Carolina, we are lucky to have countless full-service Christmas tree farms, where they make the tree cutting experience super easy and fun.
In the past we had gone to a farm outside of Boone, NC however, this year we chose to go to a new location a little bit closer to Charlotte. It is called Shady Rest Tree Farm (yes I know, it sounds like a nursing home). I went with my dad, Gav, step-mom, her dog Tibby, my sister, and her new dog Rosie. I was a tiny bit crowded in the back seat with the dogs and everybody. As we drove up to Shady Rest, we passed 5 other tree farms. This doesn't count the probably 50 tree lots on the corners of various intersections on the way. We had googled Shady Rest and knew they had the three things we were looking for: 1- You can choose your tree growing live in the ground, then they cut it down for you on the spot. 2- They offer a free hay ride 3- They have a Santa.
I mean, what more could you ask for?
Shady Rest was very easy to find (and no, it really wasn't a nursing home). It is located in Glendale Springs, NC right next to the Blue ridge Parkway (and Appalachian Trail). It's the first real mountains right outside of Wilkesboro.
Gav found the tiniest tree on the whole farm and decided it would be perfect for a baby (or Charlie Brown). Rosie, my sister Sarah's min pin mix agreed.
As you'd imagine, Christmas tree farms are really big. This is usually why they offer a hay ride. Not only because it is fun, but they offer such a variety of tree sizes, they generally take you to the area where your preferred size tree grows. Here are Sarah, Rosie, and Gav (who was being dramatic walking up the hill) by a nice 17 footer. You know, for your mansion.
My dad came and found us (it's easy to get separated at a tree farm. It's sort of like going to Target, interesting stuff everywhere you look!) And my dad said that the hay ride was ready to take us to find a tree... and Santa was there too!!!!
We got on the trailer and were the only family there! Santa was amazing. He spoke to Gavin and answered all of his questions. Everything from "Are you the real Santa? I saw Santa at the mall last week and you look different" to "Do you go to all 50 states?" to "Is your beard real?"
Santa not only answered each of Gav's questions, he let him tug on his beard... and told Gav a secret. How he fits down the chimney (something Gav's been worried about for a while).
Finally, it was time for us to ride down to the area of the farm where the 7ft trees were, what my dad and step-mom wanted for their home. After speaking with Santa for such a long time, Gav felt comfortable and even grabbed onto Santa's leg when the trailer took off down the mountain.
They provide you with a pole for measuring to ensure you pick out the right size tree. It's deceiving standing next to a forest full of Christmas trees. 7 ft, 10 ft, they all look basically the same.
At the top of the pole is a flag. It's what you wave to signal the employees and/or Santa that you're ready for them to come cut down your tree.
We ended up picking out this tree in the picture below. I'm actually 3 or 4 inches taller than my dad, but we were standing on a mountain, so I look super petite for once lol.
(Thanks to my sister for like 1/2 the photos in this post!)
My step-mom and sister with their sweet pups who love the mountains.
Gav of course had to go to the bathroom, so my dad took him somewhere into the Christmas tree forest. I'm sorry for who's ever tree they ended up 'using' (PS no they aren't in the below picture.)
Finally, the guys came on a 4-wheeler with a chain saw an cut down our tree. Then we hopped the trailer back up the mountain to get hot chocolate (Santa had gone back to the North Pole by then).
If you don't live in an area that has a near-by tree farm, Shady Ridge offers a virtual tree cutting experience! They let you pick a tree from their lot, order it online and ship it to your door!
Aaannndddd... no, I did not get a tree myself. I have an artificial tree that works just fine for Gav and I. Real trees require watering, and you have to vaccuum up the needles, and I don't have time for all that. But I really enjoy the trip to the mountains and the experience of picking out a tree for the family. I get to see it again on Christmas. Gav and I put up our own trees last night.
I have four artificial trees (not excessive, they are all 4ft or shorter). Here's the tree in Gav's room that has all of my ornaments from when I was a little girl.
Clearly a little girl in the 1980's. Hello Love's a Lot Care Bear and Alf!
Hello Kitty gets her own tree. I don't have it full or ornaments... yet. This one is a work in progress. I really like white trees (if' you're going artificial, might as well have fun with it).
If you follow me on instagram, you have seen probably TMI of my holiday decorating. But... I just can't help it! I really love this time of the year. The anticipation of the holidays is so much fun.
AND guess who made his first appearance of the season this morning? Elfie, our Elf on the Shelf. More to come on Elfie's landing soon.
How do you decorate for the holidays?
Do you get a real tree or artificial?
Do you have themed trees or are your ornaments ecclectic (aka random)?
What family traditions do you look forward to each year?