Christmas Tree farm

Instead of picking a pre-cut tree this year, considering trying something new — chopping it down yourself.

Christmas tree farms across the state opened the day after Thanksgiving to a rush of families ready to kick off the holiday season. But instead of picking a pre-cut tree this year, considering trying something new — chopping it down yourself.

Cut-your-own-tree farms are scattered across the state and are an open-air activity safe for the whole family. Visitors can walk the farm and pick out their perfect tree to chop down.

Saws and twine will be provided, though shaking (vigorously shaking the tree to knock off dead or loose needles) and baling (pulling a net over the tree for the car ride home) services may not be offered due to COVID-19.

Getting a real tree from a farm versus a fake one is a great way to help the environment and the local economy, said Revak Nursery owner Donna Revak, who runs farms in Elko and Lakeville. It could also be more cost effective — Revak’s pre-cut prices vary, but all cut-your-own trees are $69.95.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or it’s your first time, here are three tips for your visit. 

Plan your desired tree size and location beforehand.

Fresh trees need a proper spot in the house — don’t place it near a fireplace, heat register, or even a hot window if you want it to last. (LED and other “cool” light options are also ideal.) Trees also look smaller in the field than they do in your house, said Revak, so make sure your choice will fit through your door.

Dress appropriately.

There are buildings at your local tree farm, but plan to be outdoors the majority of your visit. November had milder temperatures (even some T-shirt weather) but we’re still in Minnesota — it gets cold, fast.

Nothing can spoil a fun event faster than a crying child or adult who is cold or damp, so bring hats, gloves and boots.

The person cutting the tree will also be on the ground, so consider bringing an old blanket to make the process more comfortable.

Make it a family affair.

With so many activities restricted due to COVID, it can be a challenge to keep up family traditions or find things to do during the long winter. As long as someone qualified is handling the saw, visiting a tree farm is safe for all ages.

“Going somewhere together, picking out the perfect tree, taking it home, decorating it and enjoying it for the season can become symbolic for all the good things this season can bring. Let’s pause and remember the truly important things in our lives — our relationships with each other,” Revak said.