Thanksgiving is this week, but the festivities are just beginning! After the big meal on Thursday, get your Christmas act in gear, starting with the Christmas tree. Artificial trees are great — no mess and easy storage — but if you want a full-family-Christmas-experience, you can go a step further than shopping for a tree on a lot: you can cut one down yourself. Here are 5 things you need to know about cutting down your own Christmas tree.
Dress Appropriately Christmas Tree farms are out in the middle of the country which means you’ll be out in the cold while you hunt for the right tree, cut it down and pack it on to your car. This could take you a few hours so remember to dress for cold weather! Wear a heavy coat, outdoor shoes, a hat, and good gloves for handling a tree. A fleece jacket and knit mittens aren’t going to cut it.
Use a Saw When you think of cutting down a tree like they did way-back-when, chopping it down with an ax is a logical way to think about taking it down, but it’s not practical. It’s messy, it will take a long time for someone who’s never cut down a tree before and it can be exhausting. Bring a chainsaw or a handsaw with you. Some farms don’t allow chainsaws (the fastest, neatest way to cut a tree down), so call or email ahead to make sure you’re bringing the right saw.
Packing Equipment Bring plenty of rope, twine or bungee cords to secure your tree to your car. If you’re driving a long way out to select your Christmas tree, you’ll be driving a long way back and you want your tree to be tied down tightly as you’re cruising down the interstate. If you have a tarp, wrapping your tree up will help protect your tree from drying wind and protect your car from getting scratched.
Know the Size You Need When you look for your tree, don’t guess-timate the height of your ceilings. A towering tree in your living room won’t look very big against a blue sky. Make sure you have the right size for your house — it will save you time, energy and the headache of having to adjust the size of the tree once you get home and it won’t have to become part of your outdoor holiday decor.
Shake it Off If the Christmas tree farm you go to offers a shaking service, take advantage of it. A good shake gets rid of more than loose needles — it gets rid of critters, too. Farm mice won’t mind trading their tree house for your house — if you let them.
Cutting down your own Christmas tree is a big project. If you have the time and the energy, the experience will be worth it and it will make your holiday that much more memorable. Once you get it standing and decorated, you’ll want to keep it up well into the next year!