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Oh Christmas Tree!

Cutting down our Christmas tree has been one of my favorite holiday traditions forever! For as long as I can remember, we've gone to Little Bear Tree Farm. It's nestled in the pine trees about 15 minutes from my parents house. When we were younger, all the high school kids worked there and helped direct traffic. It's quite the popular destination, people come from over an hour away to find the perfect Christmas tree. Since my Dad was a High School teacher, we'd see a ton of familiar faces. It was always such a cheerful, festive place.

Idyllic is a word I would use to describe Little Bear. They have old red trucks for people that want a lift up the hill, and not have to carry their tree back down once it's cut (The O'Brien's always walked, obviously). A big bonfire outside to keep warm. A small shop that sells Christmas ornaments, homemade Christmas cookies, apple cider, and hot cocoa, And when we were younger, it had the biggest, most epic seesaw you've ever seen! (Still sad that's gone now). To me, it's the perfect tree farm.

We each had our roles for the tree cutting growing up. I carried the saw, Dad cut down the tree, my sister helped my Dad carry the tree, and my Mom tried to keep the tears to a minimum. Yes, tears. The tree selection is very serious business in our family. We all have opinions. For the majority of our childhood, either my sister or I left Little Bear in tears. If only my parents would have just gotten two trees! :) But somehow, once the tree was home, with the angel placed carefully on top, it was always just perfect. And even knowing there were tears shed, my memories of Little Bear are all positive. Once our tree was cut and paid for, we were always treated to a cookie and hot cider, maybe even an ornament if we found the perfect one. We'd strap the tree to our van, and head home on the back roads. We sang Christmas songs and drove through the little Gold Rush town of Dutch Flat before arriving home with our freshly cut tree.

Over the years, Little Bear has changed owners a few times. And last year, we decided we wouldn't go back. The quality of trees weren't as good, and I decided now that I'm older, it didn't have quite the same charm that it once did. BUT, this year, when deciding where to get our Christmas tree, all signs pointed us back to Little Bear. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, my sister, brother in law, Phillip, and cousins all met at my Parents house, and up the hill we went.

I am SO happy we gave Little Bear another chance. I don't know if it was the new ownership, or the excitement of Phillips first Christmas, but the magic of Little Bear was back in full swing! We had the best day, and successfully found 3 perfect trees. One for my parents, one for my sisters house, and one for my cousins. It was so fun deciding on trees and carrying them back down the hill like we've done so many times. This year, Andrew was on tree carrying duty with my Dad since Christine has her own family now. Tree shopping has come full circle.

Since my Mom had come down with the flu after Thanksgiving, sadly, we left her at home. It was strange being there without her, and we sure missed her! She gave us strict instructions about what tree we could bring home (turns out, she's the pickiest one)! No dead needles, not too tall, good spacing.....

And guess what, we found the perfect tree. Maybe ever.

We might have had to cut down a 20+ foot tree to find the perfect one...the top half was perfect!

Since Andrew and I had to drive back to the city the next day, we decided not to get a tree, and just go for the experience. It was Andrew's first time cutting down a Christmas tree, I couldn't believe it! But I suppose San Diego isn't the prime climate for growing evergreens. I'm so happy he got to experience cutting a Christmas tree the way I've done it my entire life. And he loved it just as much as I do. What guy doesn't love cutting down trees?

And because Andrew came with my family to Little Bear, it was time for me to experience picking a Christmas tree the way he always has. Off to the tree lot we went! I've always grown up with silver tip trees like this, but this year we got a Noble Fir like Andrew's always had. It was fun having a new Christmas tree experience, and I think we got a really good one! It looks so festive in our living room, perfect for our first Christmas living together. I'm glad I got to experience all aspects of living in a city, including the Christmas Tree selection! But, I definitely prefer the tree farm experience I grew up with, and I think Andrew does too!

There's nothing like getting a tree to put you in the holiday spirit! And lucky for me, I got to do it twice this year.

What are your favorite holiday traditions? Do you get your tree from a lot, or cut it down at a tree farm yourself?


  1. this makes me happy. i have had to get used to getting a christmas tree from a farm. growing up we lived in the woods and would go make a day out of it in the snow and cut down our own. the things you do in small town oregon

  2. I've always wanted to cut down my own Christmas tree as well, but the OC doesn't really have that option either. The tree that you and Andrew picked is gorgeous, and it looks so pretty all lit up like that :)

    ps: love that flannel that you're wearing when you went to chop down trees.

  3. We usually cut ours down but lack of time and extremely cold weather we went to a lot and got HOSED!! Never again haha!

  4. This year we didn't go to the tree farm either because we just couldn't get all of our schedules together. I really missed that fun. One of my fun dreams had always been to own a tree farm. I think it would be awesome! I don't know anyone that doesn't enjoy their visit to a tree farm. Looks like your family had a great time.

  5. I'd love to cut down my own tree, maybe when we move to a real house! For now I have a tree that folds up into a box! Dropping by from the Random Wednesday Linkup!

    <3 Vicki

  6. What an AWESOME tree farm! Glad you gave it another shot this year! I want some cider :)

  7. oh man.. i love a real tree in the house!
    Wish we had a real tree farm close by... alas, its not exactly what texas is known for:(

    i'm following in your footsteps and making a real wreath this weekend though!!
    happy holidays my friend!!

  8. Thats so fun you got to cut down your tree! I have always wanted to do that!


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