A big thanks to the Christmas Tree Promotion Board for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, we are sticking fir branches and cedar wreaths in every nook and cranny in this joint. Twinkle light all the things!
Back in September, Robert, Olivia, and I trekked about 2 hours up to the North Carolina mountains to visit Sexton Christmas Tree Farm, and that one day reminded me all over again why it is one of my favorite things to do every year. My soul comes alive in those mountains!
The skies are bluer, the air is fresher, and there is not a more serene place in the world than that rolling countryside.
Ever since Robert and I got married over 6 years ago, he’s been my supporter of any crazy idea I have when it comes to decorating our house. (If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you already know this. No matter how wild I get with my home improvement dreams, he’s there just as excited about it as I am and jumping right in.)
But the one time of year he has any strong opinion about any kind of decorating is Christmas. The dude turns into a little kid and those brown eyes just sparkle at the idea of stringing lights up everywhere. And his number one rule has always been to get a real tree.
He grew up a country boy, and even though I grew up in a small one-horse Southern town too, I never really was a country girl. Not the backwoods kind like him anyway. So years ago, he took me to my first Christmas tree farm. And I was hooked.
And you know why?
1. Because nothing can compare to those views that make you feel even closer to God.
It’s views like this that make time stand still.
2. Because trees are grown by hard working farmers and provide jobs to those right here in our own communities.
100% of real trees sold in the U.S. are grown in North America. Posted right on the wall in the barn was the story of how the current farmers got started with their very first advertisement and a picture of them when they were just kids at the time.
Those three little boys are all grown up now and run the farm together.
While we were visiting, the Sexton family chatted with us for a little bit about everything that goes into every tree, and I never realized just how much dedication and sacrifice it really took.
Growing, using, and recycling a real Christmas tree is actually good for the environment. Did you know that for every tree that’s harvested, a new tree is planted, and they grow about a foot per year?
Then, trees are cut and shipped off to Christmas tree lots and hardware stores around the U.S. Any that aren’t sold are mulched and put right back into the ground, as opposed to artificial trees that sit in landfills for centuries.
3. You can’t bottle that smell.
I always sneak over to our tree once a day during the Christmas season, pinch off a couple of needles, and take a big whiff. Nothing like it.
To save money on decorations for the rest of our house, I usually ask the farmers or workers at the tree lots every year if I can take home some of their tree trimmings to make fresh garlands and wreaths and decorate our mantels and tabletops. Every time I’ve asked, I didn’t have to pay a dime. It makes our house smell amaaaaazing.
4. The experience can’t be manufactured.
When we visited, the farm had a 4 acre wide corn maze that was EPIC!
And we rode through the tree fields on a hay ride that the farmers keep going all through the season. (P.S. How much does that little munchkin adore her daddy? Heart = melted.)
And they had paint ball, which you can tell Robert was not at all excited about. Bahaha! I told you; he’s a little kid.
I’ll never trade that one day every year to escape to the farm life to get our tree for anything. Because with being hooked on cell phones and laptops and plugged into social media and the TV all the time, it does the mind and soul good to unplug and just be a family.
Nothing on a screen could ever compare to those landscapes or that fresh air anyway.
If you don’t live near the mountains or a place to cut your own tree though, you can always pick them up at tree lots and hardware stores and know that it’s still helping others. You can see more info over at itschristmaskeepitreal.com and at Facebook.com/ItsChristmasKeepItReal on why to keep it real this year when the Christmas season hits.
And I’m sure, when we finally pick out our tree for this Christmas, I’ll share some tips for how we decorate our tree. Do you have any favorite tree decorating tricks you use? Or homemade ornaments you’ve done that would be fun to make? I’m already gathering ideas… can’t help it.