Thing 1 and Thing 2 pose in Santa's sleigh at our favorite tree farm.

Today we went out to our local tree farm and cut our Christmas tree. Every year we head out to this special spot to cut a fresh treeg from a responsible grower, and in a few weeks the town will haul it away to be composted. I can’t tell you how happy I am to learn that this is most likely the “greenest” way to get a tree, because I just could never be happy with an artificial tree. It isn’t the holidays until the house smells like fresh evergreen!

My family has been getting their trees from the same grower since I was three years old. The farm is located within shouting distance of my parent’s first house, and when I was younger we used to walk our dog through the trees all year round. We called it The Bunny Trail after the numerous rabbits little me would spy along the way. I know the farmer and his family well enough now to trust that they are responsible with their business, and I’ve seen year after year how the cut trees are quickly replaced with saplings, so that the tree we bought this year was a baby we stepped past a decade ago.

We get different types of trees year to year, depending on which variety is looking best. The past few years it had been blue spruces, but there were few adults of that type there this year. On the other hand, the Douglas firs were looking better than they have in years, so we cut one of those and have set it up in our living room, waiting to be decorated later tonight.

The relationship we have with the farmer who grows our Christmas tree is just one of the many local business relationships that we’ve worked to build for the Homestead. Having a local source for our Christmas tree, or a local music studio to teach us how to play, or a local grocer who will stock something new just because we asked for it–these community relationships are all a part of our extended home and we don’t take them for granted. Life is just something a little bit less when they aren’t part of it. I learned this about a year ago when our favorite pizza parlor folded overnight. One day we had a source for excellent thin crust Tuscan style pizza and the next day he was gone. Now, pizza may not seem like the foundation of a good eating plan, but this pizza was distinct and was part of our holiday tradition. We always ordered a pie for dinner on the night we were decorating the tree. This year, like last year, the pizza will be missing from our tree dressing night because we have yet to find another pizza parlor to fold into our family. Sure we have pizza, but it’s not Armando’s pizza anymore.

I hope the day never comes when we will have to go somewhere else for our Christmas tree. I don’t think there is another farm anywhere nearby, though I guess you never can tell. Most people in our area have no idea that my secret, special tree farm is right around the corner, and I’m ashamed to admit that I hope they never do learn of it. They have just about all the customers they can handle right now! Anymore, and I wouldn’t be able to get my own tree so easily there.