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Picking the Perfect Christmas Tree

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Although many people may still be too full to move following their respective Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas is right around the corner. For many, this acknowledgement comes with the annual Black Friday splurge. For others, they can ignore this fact until it’s time to go out and get a tree. For some though, Black Friday is not about getting the best deals for the most expensive items on your Christmas list; rather, it is all about getting outside and finding the perfect tree to welcome the holiday season!

This last Black Friday saw the coldest temperatures in Vermont in over a decade for the end of November, however this did not stop people from pulling on their boots, getting in their cars and driving down to the Pleasant Valley Tree Farm right here in Bennington. As frigid as it may have been, the parking lots on either side of Pleasant Valley Rd. were packed with people looking for the perfect tree to bring into their home. Aside from the rows of cars, the area in front of the gift barn was loaded with cut trees; some were on the ground, waiting to be tied up for people who had walked through the 80 acre farm and picked it from thousands of other as their own; others were already cut and ready for those who didn’t want to have to cut one down. Whatever the case, there was a tree for everyone!

When you first arrive, you can check in if you want a map directing you to the lot of your preferred tree variety (they have bslasms, frasier’s, and Douglas firs, scotch and white pine, and blue and white spruce). My family, likes balsams, so after grabbing a hand-saw from the side of the barn, we didn’t have to walk that far before we found where we were going to look. Each section is labeled to indicate the type of tree you will find there and a number indicating which lot it is. The first two are 9-frasier’s, and 8-balsams. You don’t have to be picky about what kind of tree you want though; but be warned, the farm is huge and if you don’t have an idea of what you’re looking for you could be wandering for hours.

Because this wasn’t our first rodeo, we found our tree pretty quickly (it was a good thing too; it was FREEZING!!!). After that, we got down and started to saw. For those who cannot cut it themselves, a few tractors drive around picking up the trees people have cut down, and driving them to the roping machine, but the drivers are very friendly and I have spotted them helping people cut their tree down a few times.

Once you’ve finished your labor (and yes, for some of us it is a real hassle!), all you have to do is drag your tree to the main trail and wait for the tractor to come around. The driver will then throw your tree onto the trailer and give you a little card which tells the people in the gift barn how much to charge you and what your tree’s number is for pickup. Then, as he is driving away, the barn is your next stop. Inside they have wreaths, homemade tree ornaments, kissing balls, and Vermont maple syrup for sale, to top it all off. They also have tree stands just in case you didn’t plan things out very well. For our 6 foot balsam that we paid $50. By the time we were done paying, our tree was already roped up and ready for pickup, because sometimes it does pay to pick the smaller tree!

Cutting down your own tree isn’t really necessary to the holiday season, but after you’ve done it, you’ll find that there really isn’t any other way to go, and it will become a holiday tradition you can do year after year!

 

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