Keeping It Real This Christmas
Since the 11th century we’ve been bringing Christmas Trees into our homes. For some, it’s a right of passage. Setting up, lighting and decorating a tree using home-made decorations from childhood brings out memories to be revisited once a year. For some, ornaments purchased on a special vacation has become a way to extend the the holiday to a year round ornament hunt. No matter your decorating tradition, the long standing debate about what kind of three to use has been right at the center of debate for decades.
Options include artificial or permanent Christmas trees, picking a live tree from a “tree lot” or nursery, but for the sake of this article, we’re looking at the all out experience of “Choose and Cut.”
Some people have gone as far as cutting their own Christmas tree from a National Forest, which is legal as long as you have the correct permits and keep it for personal use. You can’t sell the tree. Know that there is no one to help you cut, wrap or load. In addition, it’s important to note that there are only two national forests in Minnesota: The Superior National Forest and the Chippewa National Forest. Both are in Northern Minnesota outside of the 320.
We will go a little less rustic by exploring the experience of choosing and cutting a tree from a Tree Farm. There are 15 Christmas Tree Farms inside the 320. Some of them only cut trees to put on tree lots and have no public pick and cut. The following list are the farms that offer the experience of finding their tree in their fields, cutting, shaking and baling. These farms are open to the public. Many include sleigh rides, gift shops, beverages and more. The list will offer some insights as to offerings.
There is a gift shop available. Pick and Cut or precut available. Baling/wrapping trees are available. The following video offers a glimpse of their 2019 opening day. Note that opening day dates vary from year to year. Visit the website for up to date details.
Where: Just north of Litchfield at 67304 MN Hwy. 24 Litchfield MN
Phone: (320) 693-3944
Just north of Morris, MN. Wayne-N-Jeans Evergreens offers choose and cut or precut trees.
Where: Just north of Morris MN at 46298 180th Street, Morris, MN
Phone: (320) 287-0957
Crow River Nursery
A wide variety of trees including Spruce, Fir and Pine. Baling tree is available. Its important to know that only cash or checks are accepted. No Credit Cards.
Where: Just 5 Miles North of Howard Lake, MN at 1339 Cty Rd 6 SW, Howard Lake, MN
Fairfield Tree Farm
Last years cutting was substantial, so there will be a limited number of trees available this year at Fairfield Tree Farm. In addition they will only be open a limited number of days, mostly weekends. Check their Facebook page for details.
Where: Just south of Pine City near Rock Creek at 55535 Fairfield Ave, Pine City, MN 55063
Phone: 320 438-9318
KTrees & Nursery
KTrees offers Fir and Spruce trees. They are open a limited number of days. See their webpage for details ad timing. This is a fresh cut Christmas Tree Experience. Photography is encouraged. Dogs on a leash are welcome. Kids receive a free coloring book. Baling and tree bag for disposal are included in the price.
Where: Just a couple miles west of Hutchinson MN at 20542 Vale Ave, Hutchinson, MN 55350
Phone: 612 501-3673 (We know, that’s not a 320 Area Code, but this is their contact information. Technically they are in the 320)
Cornerstone Farms offers a variety of Fir, Pine and Spruce. There is a Gift Shop on sight. On specific days (check their website for details) Sleigh Rides and Santa are available to add a little more fun to the experience. Kids are also encouraged to visit Santa’s Workshop to write a letter to Santa or Mrs Santa’s Cottage to do a craft or hear a story. There is also a petting zoo.
Where: Southeast of Long Prairie in Grey Eagle at 19180 281st Ave, Grey Eagle, MN 56336
Phone: 320 732-3299
Wee Tree’s Nursery
Wee Trees offers Fir, Spruce and Pine. There is a gift shop. Hot cider is served as well. Wee Trees is open every day from November 26th til Christmas Day. See website for details and hours.
Where: Just south of LIttle Falls at 13291 Galaxy Rd, Royalton, MN 56373
Phone: 320 584-8383
Jan’s Christmas Trees
In addition to Fir, Spruce and Pine, Jan’s Christmas Trees offers an interesting twist. Potted or Ball and Burlap Trees in Pine or Fir. Instead of being disposed of after the Christmas Season, they are meant to be planted in the spring. There are some limitations to this method including how long you can have the tree indoors before the tree “thinks its spring.” In addition to this, there is a sizable gift shop on site.
Where: North East of Clear Lake at 12519 37th St SE, Clear Lake, MN 55319
Phone: 320 743-3327
Hinkemeyer’s Christmas Tree Farm
Offering Fir, Spruce and Pine, Hinkemeyer’s offers both precut and choose and cut Christmas Trees. There are Bon-Fires with smores for roasting. There are also sleigh rides, a gift shop and a children’s corner. If you’d prefer not to strap the tree to your car, Hinkemeyer’s has delivery available.
Where: North of St Cloud, East of Rice at 12675 22nd Ave NE, Rice, MN 56367
Phone: 763 300-4886 (Yes, a 763 number but the store is inside the 320 area code)
B & J Evergreen
B&J Evergreen offers both precut and Choose and Cut at either locations that include Clear Lake and Princeton. These include Fir, Pine and Spruce. Baling is included. Pets on a leash are welcome. There is also a wishing tree on site. Add your wish to see if it comes true this holiday season. In the Princeton location you can take a selfie with Carl the Camel.
Where: Two Locations available
Just north of Clear Lake at 12946 47th St SE, Clear Lake, MN 55319
And near Princeton at 9419 Highway 95 Princeton, MN 55371
Phone: 320 743-2255
Happy Land Tree Farms
Happy Land Tree Farms has won the State Fair Grand Champion 9 times since 2011 including 2021. Precut and choose and cut are available in a variety of Fir, Pine and Spruce. In addition there are photography sessions available with Happy Land’s photographer on select dates. See website for specifics.
Where: Just north of Hinckley and west of Sandstone at 16706 Groningen Rd, Sandstone, MN 55072
Phone: 320 245-5135
Heggies offers Fir, Pine and Spruce are available as Choose and Cut. 4 Wheel Drive is recommended of the weather is wet. Open only on the weekends. Baling is available.
Where: Just to the at 2742 County Highway 3 Southwest, Cokato, Minnesota 55321
Phone: 320 434-0916
Plants Beautiful Nursery (It’s Almost in the 320 and worth mentioning)
In addition to Fir, Spruce and Pine trees available as precut or choose and cut, Plants Beautiful Nursery offers some family fun. Sleigh rides are offered on specific dates. Reservations are recommended for this. Santa also visits on select dates. See website for details on both sleigh rides and Santa. There’s a gift shop of significant size (2500 sq feet) on site. While it’s not quite in 320Land, it was so close that we felt it was worth a mention.
Where: North of Alexandria in Parkers Prairie at 15927 Co Hwy 42, Parkers Prairie, MN 56361
Phone: 218 338-6267
It’s important to know that the drought this past summer has been hard on some of the trees. Some tree farms are limiting their harvest this year. If you wait til the last minute, you may not get the result you were hoping for.
Once you find the perfect tree, and get it home you’ll want to let it warm up before decorating. Putting it in the stand and waiting several hours allows the tree to expand to it’s full shape and size. Avoid putting the tree near heat sources as it will dry the tree out and possibility present a fire hazard. Make sure you supply adequate water daily as the tree will continue to pull water in for some time. When the season is over, there are organic recycling centers that accept Christmas trees. In addition, some waste disposal companies will accept the trees. It would be wise to check with them prior to putting the tree by the curb. Don’t burn the tree in a fireplace or wood stove. This can cause creosote buildup that could cause a fire in the Chimney or flue.
No matter which kind of tree you’ll be enjoying this year, we wish you a Christmas full of real Christmas joy.