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Oh tannenbaum, have I got a Christmas tree for you

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on Dec. 3, 2011 at 6:42 am |
December 3, 2011 8:35 am

The weather looks chilly but dry through this weekend, and it’s officially December, so it might be a good time to start decking your halls.

And if your idea of a Christmas tree is stored a box in the attic, I say: “Good Yule, sir!” You’ve made your choice and we have nothing left to discuss.

And if you’re thinking about picking up your tree from the Safeway parking lot, nothing wrong with that. But let’s see if I can convince you to venture out a little farther and revel in the Northwest tradition of bagging your own. We live in Christmas tree Nirvana, which you already know if you’ve lived anywhere else in the country, and it’s a shame not to take advantage of that.

They don’t call it the Evergreen State for nothing, folks. The Doug fir grows like a weed in the Christmas Tree Capital of the World, so much so that we may not appreciate what a perfect specimen it is. Beyond that we’ve got bushy grands, stately nobles, exotic Nordmanns and a half dozen or so other species to choose from.

And on the back roads of South Sound, you’ll find dozens of “choose and cut” farms, all operated by families or small businesses, each with its own character and traditions. Some offer little more than a loaner saw, twine and near wholesale prices. Others will give you the full Holly Jolly: wagon rides, gift shops and Santa included. In putting together this interactive map for the website, I was astounded at the number and variety.

Sure, u-cut requires a little more effort. Your shoes will get muddy; your hands could get sappy; you’ll probably get needles down your shirt. But you are likely to come away with a better appreciation of God’s Country and some great family memories. If that’s not enough, here are five more reasons:

5. You’ll get a fresher tree that will last longer. (Even the pre-cut trees that many u-cut places offer are farm-fresh).

4. You’ll get some exercise and fresh air.

3. You’ll get a much better selection than even the biggest lots can offer.

2. You’ll be helping the environment. Fast growing conifers sponge up CO2 and shelter wildlife. When you’re done, the tree becomes mulch for next spring. Try that with a made-in-China plastic tree.

1. You’ll be helping small, family farmers, who are always getting squeezed out by subdivisions.

So, I’ll see you on the farm. Just don’t take my tree before I get there.

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