After I made this image, I realized you might be expecting 2014 Christmas traditions, as in a list of 2014 things. Sorry, that’s not what I intended. Instead, since you’re here, I was going to tell you a little about how we’re growing our own holiday traditions and what is new this year, 2014.
In the past I’ve told you about some of our traditions, such as our Christmas Eve traditions and even some of our Autumn traditions, such as apple picking and the pumpkin patch. This year, we’re adding on a new winter holiday tradition. Cutting down our own Christmas tree.
This year we took a leap and decided to head out to Bennington Pines, a place we’d only driven past on numerous occasions, but thought it looked like a great local business to support. Guess what? We were right. Helpful, friendly, fun and for us new customers, a bit of an unexpected adventure.
We had only just driven by Bennington Pines, so we had no way of knowing exactly what the entire procedure was. Do we walk in and pick out a precut tree like just about every other place in the area? Do we walk out in the field, with our own tools and cut down any tree we want? What exactly is this place?
Well, all it took was driving in and walking up to the building to find out. As soon as we got there we were immediately greeted by smiling, friendly faces welcoming us to Bennington Pines. I told them right away this was our first time there, and we were greeted again by another smile. Then we started in on our fun.
First, the girls took no time jumping on the hay ride we were directed to.
This is the ride that would take us down into the trees so we could hand pick our own tree. They gave us a saw and a 10 foot pole that we could use to measure the tree and signal them for help if we needed it. So, they drove us to the trees and set us free to
hunt find our own Christmas tree.
I’ll be honest. We had to walk around quite a bit. Even though it was only the first week in December, the trees were very well picked over. I have no issues with a Charlie Brown tree, but the kids were really looking forward to a full tree we could put a lot of decorations on since we built our own tree last year to save money after we were slammed with the government shutdown. With that said, last year’s book tree was one of my favorites yet, but I still love having a real tree for the holidays.
So, we wandered, and explored and were met with a lot of amazingly perfect trees. But all of them had tags on them for other people, so we couldn’t choose them for our own. We learned quickly that you can pre-tag trees, then pick them up at a later date. I think we’ll be doing that next year now that we know how it all works.
In our explorations we found some fun things for the kids such as a tire swing and this sleigh for pictures.
Finally after making the rounds of the entire section of trees, we made it back to the original section we started in and chose our tree from there. While we were out and about we did talk to several other families who were choosing trees too. It’s no secret. I have a very social family. We love meeting new people!
Here is the tree right after my husband cut it down.
I know some people are against cutting down trees for the holidays, so I want to assure you that Bennington Pines is a member of the National Christmas Tree Association. The trees from these farms are sustainable, and trees are continually replanted, typically one to three trees per every tree cut. When people are done with the trees, they can recycle them for organizations to turn them into mulch which can then be used to help protect other plants and trees every year. I learned a ton about Christmas trees and sustainability this year.
After we got our tree back to the building (they came back and picked us and our tree up), they prepared our tree by shaking out the excess needles and wrapping it for transport. We went inside and enjoyed some hot drinks while the kids played in the play area. I couldn’t miss out on grabbing a picture of the girls next to the growth chart. If we’re going to make this a tradition, then we might as well grab some annual growth chart pictures.
At home we got the house ready for the tree by moving furniture and vacuuming the floor. My husband cut a little bit off the bottom of the tree again because the sap was forming a cap on the end and we wanted to make sure the tree would take up water. He got it in the stand and we were ready for decorating. We started with a few lights.