Sometimes the weather in North Carolina doesn’t seem to reflect the season. Garland, bows and lights may adorn homes and businesses and Christmas music may blare from speakers near and far, but it’s still warm enough for flip flops and shorts; such was the case last December.
Memories of sipping hot Russian tea while trimming my childhood home in fresh pine boughs seemed hard to recreate for my own children when the attic, where our artificial tree and ornaments were stored, was sweltering. My husband and I decided to force the season a bit by doing something neither of us had ever done. We were going to cut our own Christmas tree.
B&D Christmas Tree Farm is on Elliot Farm Road, just off Ramsey Street. It’s a short jaunt up a busy commuter thoroughfare and only a mile past the Goodyear plant. We followed a few signs to find the turn-off, but could have just looked for the most obvious sign of all: the huge field of young evergreens growing neatly in rows. The men manning the field told us to have a look, shop around and find the perfect tree — and so we did. The kids ran from one to the next, initially offering judgments but eventually just slipping into a game of hide and seek. Meanwhile my husband and I sized each one up according to its merits.
“That one is way too tall,” I’d say.
“Well, that one is too wide,” he’d counter.
“That one looks scrawny.”
“I don’t like those branches.”
And so forth and so on we went, surprised at the sheer variety of trees available, until our eyes settled on a perfectly-sized pine tree at the same moment. We circled it, looking for bare spots or other flaws. We peeked inside the branches to make sure no critters had already claimed it. Finally, we waved to one of the men and he rushed over with a bright yellow hand saw. He asked if we wanted him to cut it for us or if we wanted to cut it ourselves. Without hesitation we both replied “Ourselves!” and my husband accepted the saw. Our children, 7-year-old Bo and 3-year-old Rudy, leaned in close as my husband made quick work of the tree’s trunk, which was only probably six inches around. The kids yelled “Timber!” just as the tree was about to fall, a bit dramatic for a tree that wasn’t any taller than an adult, but it seemed fitting at the time.
The men came over to bind the branches in twine and to drag the tree to the front of the lot, where we paid for it and they helped us tie it to the top of my husband’s old Land Rover.
Back in Haymount the temperature outside may have still felt like early fall, but inside our house it smelled like Christmas.
Where to Go to Cut Your Own Tree
B&D Christmas Tree Farm 1206 Elliott Farm Road Fayetteville; 910.488.3003
The Christmas Tree Patch 1747 Henley Rd. Sanford; 919.776.6475
Daniel Christmas Tree Farm 1711 NC 55 E. Dunn; 910.897.7520