Finding the perfect Christmas tree: A family tradition

(Story previously published in Canstar weeklies)

DSC_0209One of my most favourite holiday activities is getting a Christmas tree. Sure, there are lots of places where you can buy one that’s already cut down and ready to go, and if that’s your approach, that’s okay. You can also buy an artificial one from a retailer, if you prefer going that route. But for a really memorable time that your family will never forget, nothing beats a daytrip adventure to find your special tree.DSC_0074

Did you know that a real Christmas tree spends 8 to 10 years growing on a farm, all the while producing oxygen, sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, and sheltering wildlife before it goes into somebody’s home? What about the fact a real tree is an environmentally friendly biodegradable resource, and that for every Christmas tree harvested from a tree farm, that two to three more are planted in its place to start the cycle over again?

Those are just a few of the good reasons to support Manitoba Christmas tree growers, like R & C Tree DSC_0212Company near Petersfield, Country Pines north of Tyndall, Hemminger’s Trees in the Pinawa area, and Timber Trails Tree Farm south of Steinbach. Visiting any of these family-run operations is a truly festive experience, complete with crisp country balsam-infused air, the sound of crackling fire, tasty hot beverages, and other merry features.

DSC_0117CD Trees is another farm south of Steinbach, where Dorothy Freund and husband Cliff have been providing Christmas trees for 20 years – and they couldn’t have pursued a more suitable business. Cliff’s father worked in the forest and passed his fondness down to his son, while Dorothy grew up gardening plants, shrubs and trees. Together, these two love making things grow.

Their family loves the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, and the excitement of helping other families find their tree. “While not every tree grows perfectly, what’s in the eye of the beholder is what makes it perfect for them,” explains Dorothy. Visitors can pick a pre-cut tree or select and cut their own, DSC_0106choosing from Sheared Scots Pine, White Spruce, Balsam Fir and Fraser Fir.

The Freunds also provide horse-drawn rides, kiddie slide and fire pits, and have plenty of room for people to roam around their winter wonderland. One of their best attractions is the timber-frame lodge, housing a Christmas store that sells a variety of trinkets, tree tops and other decorations. DSC_0228 (2)They also offer handmade goods from local vendors like soaps, jewellery, wood crafts, and honey, and their own line of Redpoll Farms jams and pickles.

Folks can browse the Christmas store while warming up, or just relax inside the lodge with snacks. They’ve got hotdogs, chili, bakery items, and beverages for purchase. They also have chips, candy bars, peanuts in the shell, and freshly popped popcorn to go with the children’s movies. Add some holiday music and a toy train traveling around the lodge, and you’ve got a magical Christmas scene – and wonderful place to start a new tradition.


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