In what has become a classic movie scene from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold insists that his family drive out to the country to choose and cut down a Christmas tree.
“We’re kicking off our fun, old-fashioned family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select the most important of Christmas symbols,” he announces, as they head out for the task.
Of course, things quickly go awry.
The annual trek to the Christmas tree farm is something that many families have done for generations. This is a good sign that, thankfully, Griswold-style mishaps are few and far between.
The National Christmas Tree Association noted that 2020 was an unusual year for tree sales. Many farms opened early due to consumer demand. Buyers were younger and came from urban areas, something the Christmas tree industry hadn’t seen before. While tree sales stayed steady, suppliers ran out of trees sooner.
“It was definitely an experience (last year),” said Jen Opgenorth, who owns Traditions Christmas Tree Farm with her husband, Kurt, in Platteville, Wis. “I think a lot of people were just happy to get out and be with their families, and we expect the same will happen this year.”
These tri-state Christmas tree farms are ready to help you create or continue your family holiday tradition. You can cut down your tree or choose and have farm staff cut it down for you. Some farms also have pre-cut trees available for those who don’t trust themselves with a handsaw.
Most farms offer complimentary shaking and baling, but even if you have to pay for it, don’t skip it. Shaking will get rid of loose and detached needles, and baling will put a net over the tree, making it much easier to carry and handle.
Before planning your trip, call ahead to be sure the farm will be open at the time you want to visit and that trees are available. Some farms might cut their season short due to limited supplies.
A & A Christmas Tree Farm
14201 170th Ave., Monticello, Iowa
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26; Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 27-Dec. 19.
All choose-and-cut trees are $60. Live trees balled with burlap and ready for transplant are $150. Scotch pine, white pine, Fraser fir, blue spruce, white spruce, Douglas fir, Concolor fir, Canaan fir and Balsam fir available. Saws provided. Shaking, baling and assistance with cutting and tie-down. Pet-friendly.
More information: www.aachristmastree.com or 319-481-7370.
2176 Ebenezer Road,
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily through Thursday, Dec. 23 (including Thanksgiving Day).
Prices range from $27.50 to $155. Cut your tree (saws provided), choose and let the staff cut for you or choose from a variety of pre-cut trees. White pine, Scotch pine, Concolor fir, Balsam fir and Fraser fir available. Wreaths and greenery, tree stand and tree removal bags also available. Free shaking and baling. Pet-friendly.
More information: www.cookswoods.biz or 608-943-8099.
Country Christmas Tree Farm
1290 Illinois 35,
East Dubuque, Ill.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4-5, 11-12 and 18-19.
Prices are $60 for any size Canaan fir. This season, the tree farm is reporting many firs more than 12 feet tall. Free hot chocolate and candy canes. Free shaking and baling. Tree stands available for purchase. Cash only.
More information: www.facebook.com/CountryChristmasTreeFarm or 815-747-2885.
Rockville Tree Farm
3318 Rockville Road,
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. ??
Prices range from $35 to $50. Precut Fraser firs, Balsam firs and white pine. Several other varieties to choose and cut. Heated building, with refreshments. Fresh wreaths. Saws provided. Free shaking. $3 to bale. Trains rides for the kids (weather permitting). Pet-friendly.
More information: www.facebook.com/RockvilleTreeFarm or 563-542-3048.
Traditions Christmas Tree Farm
6657 Stumptown Road, Platteville, Wis.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 26, and Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 27-Dec. 19. Appointments outside of regular hours are available.
Prices are $50 for any size choose-and-cut tree. Balsam fir, Fraser fir, Scotch pine and Canaan fir. Saws provided. Fresh cut wreaths, centerpieces, porch pots, crafts, gifts and tree stands. Complimentary coffee, hot cocoa and candy canes. Assistance with cutting and loading. Free shaking and baling. Pet-friendly.
More information: 608-732-7647.
12071 County Road G, Darlington, Wis.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, and Saturday, Nov. 27, until supplies are exhausted.
Prices range from $50 to $75. Balsam fir, Fraser fir. Pre-cut trees available. Complimentary popcorn and candy canes. Petting zoo and gift shop with crafts for sale. Free shaking and baling. Saws provided. Pet-friendly.
More information: www.facebook.com/wirthmoreevergreens or 608-776-2922.
Michelle London writes for the Telegraph Herald.