Like any red-blooded American, I've had visions of cutting down and hauling home a Christmas tree of my very own since I watched the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, among others, as a youth. Maybe Clark W. Griswold has modeled proper American holiday behavior for many of us. Discuss.
When the opportunity arose to visit Krueger's Christmas Tree farm in Lake Elmo, MN, to help pick and cut a Christmas tree, I jumped at the chance.
After an easy, relatively short Saturday morning drive, we found ourselves surrounded by all kinds of conifers to choose from. Though Krueger's has trees pre-cut and ready to wrap, we chose the traditional method of grabbing a saw and sled, finding our own tree (only the tagged ones, never the flagged ones), cutting it down, hauling it back, having them process and wrap it, and even driving through their pick-up line and having them tie it right to your roof.
Though I'd always thought this kind of adventure would be a day long slog in a cold, wet, windy forest with grumpy family members (Griswold!!!), it turned out to be a pleasant outing with two other fun people... and really not that physically taxing. Phew.
Finding the tree was the most arduous part, and even that was rather pleasant as we were able to see what we liked, toss some snowballs, and even "snowboard" on some of their back hills.
Once found, the cutting of a relatively young, small diameter tree trunk took all of about five minutes, and that's with a hand saw. Plus, tradition of the friends I went with dictated that all of us had a hand in the cutting. So while I started it and got about halfway through, the others finished the job. Done.
Now, all that's left is to haul it back to the processing and payment area. Once there, they place the tree on a "shake stand" to help remove dead/weak needles, and then send it through the "netting" machine to allow it to be tied down on your car (and frankly, brought into your casa... oh, Mexico). You hand it off and go pay, then jump in your vehicle for pick-up. It's a slick system that they seem to have really dialed.
They also have things set-up well for kids, big and small. Many had fun around the main out-buildings. There's a teepee, photo areas, and just a general holiday vibe that was nice to be around. Plus, who doesn't like the smell of pine in the morning?
I would wholeheartedly recommend this establishment to anyone in the market for a fresh-as-they-come Christmas tree and a family adventure for the ole memory book.
Clark W. Griswold would approve.