Yesterday we found our Solstice/Christmas tree from the forest. It's become a fun little family tradition since having children. Traditions are something our little family have been creating and expanding on with each year that we grow together. With every seasonal shift we ponder over what the girls are ready for as they get a little older, and so our traditions grow as our family grows with time.
I like waiting for fresh fluffy snow to take the family trip into the forest. It enriches the experience and holiday joy. We're lucky to live on a large acreage that is heavily forested so we can find our tree right in our backyard. All we have to do is go up the mountain a little ways and keep our eyes out for the perfect one.
Here are a few guidelines to help your family find a Christmas tree the Old Fashioned way:
1. If you have little kids bring a sleigh for them to sit on to reduce how tired and cranky they might get. Our 3 year old happily walked the way there but enjoyed a sleigh ride back down the mountain. It also keeps them occupied while the adults seek out and cut down the tree.
2. Make you sure you bring the right tools to chop or saw the tree down. This might seem silly to mention but you don't want to head into the forest only to find out that you forgot the saw and/or hatchet.
4. Sometimes a tree can look fuller than it is so make sure you double check that your happy with the fullness of the tree before cutting it down. Finding out that your not content with the tree after cutting it down is extremely wasteful.
5. Make sure you check your local state or province for the legalities of cutting down a Christmas tree in your area. Sometimes you need a Christmas tree permit, sometimes you don't. The government of B.C. requires a permit (click here for the guidelines) whereas in Ontario a family may harvest one Christmas tree a year (check here for the full info). Equally important is to make sure you're not on someone else's land. If you happen to know of someone that has a forested acreage ask them if you can harvest a tree.
6. Keep everyone well bundled up and check the weather forecast before setting off that day. If the weather is forecasted to have a snow storm or strong winds it might be best to pick another day, especially if you have little kids.
7. If your not able to carry the tree back make sure you bring along a large enough sleigh or wagon to bring it back on.
8. Bring the camera to take family pictures of the experience.
9. If your heading into the woods it helps to bring a dog or two to help alert you of any wildlife in the area. If there are bears and cougars you may want to bring additional protection or noise makers.
When it's time to take your tree down after the holiday season make sure to bring it back to the woods to decompose. This is a nice reminder of the natural forest life cycle.
What is your family's tradition for the tree?