One of the things I discovered while living in Wisconsin was the joy of visiting Christmas tree farms and picking out our favorite tree and then having my oldest son and husband cut it down and carry it away. I loved the personal experience of just walking around among all those pine trees and really getting excited about “that special one”.
I also enjoyed taking pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and buying ornaments and candy from the ever-present gift shop. I couldn’t wait for my kids to experience that as well.
This being our first year back in New York City, I decided to bypass all the trees parked on the sidewalks two blocks from our building and began searching for the perfect Christmas tree farm.
We decided on Carter Christmas Tree Farm in Suffolk County. Having packed up the kids, some drinks, snacks, and several DVDs, we ventured an hour and a half away from the city in search of the perfect tree. Fortunately, I have no nightmare tales of crying babies, annoyed pre-teens, or sudden urges to stop at a public restroom. This was an easy drive. After driving through some winding roads, past pretty houses, and quiet streets, we found the farm. I was immediately excited. It had that “country feel” I was longing for and a quaint gift shop right next door!
But, I soon realized that we may have arrived too early. Though it was the Friday after Thanksgiving, there was no Santa Claus to greet us, no cheerful holiday music to get us in the spirit, no bells ringing and sadly, though no fault of anyone’s, no snow.
The Carter’s did have a beautifully arranged tree in the barn where they had set up their register (cash or checks only) and had set aside some apple cider for sale. The only person in my group who would have enjoyed the cider was my husband and even he wasn’t too happy.
Nevertheless, we didn’t let ourselves get discouraged and ventured into the field of pines in search of our tree. The boys were super excited, especially the younger ones as they zigged-zagged through the rows and rows of trees, searching for the one that would capture their hearts.
It wasn’t long before we found our tree. A nice, tall, full, proud tree with soft needles and strong branches. My 11 year old cut the first half and my husband finished it off. Our 2 year old chanted “Go Daddy! Go Daddy!” as my husband carried the tree away (no assistance to do so was offered from the farm workers).
After paying for our tree, my husband was given material to tie the tree up onto the hood of our van (again, without any assistance), while I walked into the gift shop for goodies.
There I found no ornaments, or holiday decorations, but rather general little gift shop standards, homemade taffy, and chocolate goodies, as well as other varieties of sweets and candies. Half heartedly, I bought some chocolate.
Still, it was a fun experience. Visiting the country and cutting down our tree. It looks beautiful there in our small NYC living room and we do consider it to be perfect. The kids were still talking about the experience in the car, until sleep overcame them the rest of the way home. I think though that next year I might wait the extra week and maybe explore other farms throughout the state.