Anyone who celebrates Christmas knows how much fun decorating a Christmas tree can be. Decorating Christmas trees is one of the most widely celebrated Christmas traditions, and there's just something about a tree that feels like the holidays. For many families, the act of going to a tree farm, picking out a tree and then cutting it is what makes the tree that much more special. Luckily, there are still many farms that help keep this tradition alive, providing tools such as saws, netting and twine to help make things a little easier.
Before you start your tree farm search, get into the spirit by watching National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation." It has the most well-known tree chopping scene of all time, which, in addition to being hilarious and outrageous, is a guide of how NOT to cut your own tree. It's pretty much the worst-case scenario in that classic holiday movie.
The good news is that unlike the Griswold family in the movie, who drive out into the middle of nowhere to find a massive tree, you can probably find a tree farm near you, as they exist close to most cities and towns in America. If it's your first time chopping down your own tree, these farms are helpful either in assisting you to make the cut yourself or by providing you with an expert who can do the work for you as you stand by and watch. It really depends on the experience you'd like to create.
If you're going this route, the best way to find a good tree farm is to ask your friends or neighbors for a recommendation. There's something about the good old-fashioned word of mouth that you just don't get when you look for reviews on Yelp. However, Yelp is a great tool, as well. You can always do an Internet search to find tree farms in your area. Once you find a farm that looks good, plug that information into Yelp to see what people are saying about their experiences.
Once you find your place, make sure to dress appropriately and to prep your car for the tree chopping, as well. If you're in a colder area, bundle up with gloves, a warm coat, a hat and boots with treads to prevent slipping. If you live in a warmer area, make sure to at least cover your legs and arms so that you can protect your skin from getting scratched. You may also want to bring gardening gloves for gripping the tree trunk without getting a stack of needles in your hand. For transporting the tree, don't forget some ropes, bungee cords, a blanket or tarp and, once again, gloves.
If you're looking for a more rugged experience, you're always able to venture into the woods for the sake of authenticity; however, it's best to consult a professional first. There are many YouTube tutorials (you can just type it into the search bar), but without practice, you're putting yourself at risk.
Once you've picked your tree, you want to make sure that the surrounding area is clear. You'll also want to figure out the direction of the wind so that you can cut with the wind blowing in the opposite direction of where you're standing while making the cut. Check out this wikiHow series of clips for thorough and helpful advice: http://www.wikihow.com/Fell-a-Tree.
Just remember that no matter what, this is meant to be a fun experience that will be talked about for many years down the road. So be safe and present, and smile often!