For the past few years, we’ve headed to Meadows Farms nursery, which always has a good selection of Fraser firs. When the kids were teenagers, my son would patiently hold up tree after tree for my inspection. Now that he's away at college during tree-picking time, the helpful teenage boys who work at the nursery have to suffice, and they indulge my indecision with good humor.
At some point, the expense of the tree, coupled with the effort it takes to muscle the tree into our old stand, may make me switch to an artificial tree. I give it serious thought every year. I would love to be able to put the tree up on December 1, and not worry about it drying out. It would be the perfect shape, without any bare spots. And I could manipulate the branches in just the right way to make every ornament sit perfectly. But would it be the same without that fresh evergreen smell, the slight tilt to the left, the bare spot that I turn towards the wall, those needles under the rug until March? And while I had always assumed that the artificial tree was the more environmentally friendly choice, it turns out that’s not really true, either (check out this article for a discussion of the pros and cons of each). So for now, I’m sticking with the real tree.
And here’s a bit of tree trivia: The Fraser fir was named for John Fraser (1750-1811), a Scot botanist who explored the southern Appalachian Mountains in the late 18th century. And did you know that North Carolina produces the majority of Fraser fir Christmas trees? It requires from 7 to 10 years in the field to produce a 6-7 feet tree. And I’ll enjoy mine for about 4 weeks.
The Chosen One.
The Christmas tree baler (bet you didn't know it was called that) is an incredible invention--although I imagine encasing your tree in plastic for the short ride home is not exactly the most environmentally friendly way to go.
The fire pit at the nursery makes everything seem more wintry.
A few of the ornaments.