By Kate Scriven
Thanksgiving is late this year. Some of you reading this may have already thrown in the towel and swapped out your fall-hued décor for snowmen and a tree. But, for those of us holding out until our day of thanks is behind us, the annual seeking of the tree is coming. An easy approach is to trek to the local grocery store or corner lot, select a gorgeous tree, and maybe a latte, some bread and milk, and be home in 30 minutes.
For a bit more adventure, many local families set aside time after the bird has been carved, to visit one of our local U-Cut Tree Farms, turning the quest for the perfect tree into a bit of a family outing and ultimately, a tradition. My family visits the same forested acreage each year and the kids are beginning to know “where the good ones are.”
Where will your family seek their tree this year? Stick with an old favorite or maybe try something new. One of the destinations below is sure to fit what your family is after, be it a hike in the Olympic National Forest or a mulled-cider filled afternoon of horse-drawn carriages.
14020 Finian Rd SE in Rainier
Open November 29 – December 24
Daily 9am – 4pm
Sprouffske Trees is a family run farm, specializing in only quality Christmas Trees. (Read more about the family behind this Rainier tree farm here.) Located in Rainier, the farm has been selling trees since 1972 and includes Douglas, Noble and Grand Firs. Douglas are $25 each and Noble and Grands are $35, regardless of size.
141 Nisqually Cutoff Rd SE in Olympia
Open November 29 – December 22
Daily 9am – Dusk
Schilter Family Farms is a pumpkin patch favorite, however they also have a good selection of “choose-and-cut” trees. Varieties include Noble, Fraser, Grand and Douglas Fir. Most people choose to cut their own, but pre-cut and wrapped trees are available along with wreaths and centerpieces. Douglas Firs are $25. Other varieties average $45 – $55. On the weekends, visitors can enjoy hot drinks and freshly baked donuts along with a lighted Nativity in the 140 year old barn. Come on Saturday from 12:30 – 3:30 and enjoy pictures with Santa as well.
7401 Yelm Hwy in Olympia
Open November 29 – December 23
Weekdays 10 – 6, Weekends 9-6
When you think of Hunter’s you may think “Pumkin Patch Extravaganza.” But, Hunters has been growing Christmas Trees since 1948 and has had a U-Cut program since 1970. While many of the fun activities seen in the fall are present in a wintertime incarnation, the trees are the real show. Trees are priced by the foot here, not by the tree ($4.25 – $7.25 per foot). Selections of precut trees are also available. To be a bit more “thrifty” click here for a coupon.
4115 Baker Ames Rd NE in Olympia
360-357-3155 or 360-943-3216
Open November 25 – December 24
Daily 8am – Dusk
Ames Christmas Tree Farm was founded in 1976 and is still run by the family. This is a real farm. Wear your boots. But, also bring your camera to capture the joy of your children racing through the forest of trees, searching for “the one.” Douglas Firs start at $15 with the Nobles and Grands at $25. Handmade wreaths are also available for $15 each. This is our family’s spot…we love it here.
Want to be truly thrifty? Visit the extensive National Forests in our area and select from tens of thousands of trees. The experience takes your family out, breathing the cold air, pausing to build a snowman, seeking the perfect, yet not at all perfect, tree. Take a thermos, some snacks and a good attitude. It’s a little more wild out there, and maybe a little more fun. Details on obtaining a permit can be found here.
62nd Ave & Delphi Rd SW in Olympia
Open November 29
10am – Dusk , Friday – Monday
If you are located south of Olympia, Black Lake Trees is the U-Cut for you. Navigate the acres of Noble, Douglas, Grand and Fraser Firs with your bow saw (provided) until you find “the one.” Prices start at $20 for Douglas Firs and go up to $100 for larger Nobles. A unique twist at this traditional farm is the “free” pile of boughs for décor. Help yourself!
10712 Tracie Ct SW in Olympia off Delphi Rd.
360-480-0515 or 360-352-8733
Open November 29 – December 22
9am – 5pm, Friday – Sunday
Clyde ‘n Dales is home to Bob and Dutch, two Palomino Percherons who pull the farm’s horse-drawn trolley, delivering you to the perfect tree. A visit includes Santa pictures on Sunday from 1pm – 3pm, live music, horseback rides and hot cider. See the website for the full schedule of entertainment and hours.
ThurstonTalk hopes you find the perfect tree at the perfect farm. Because, whether you are trudging through the pristine forests of the Pacific Northwest, enjoying hay-rides and donuts at a activity filled destination, or enjoying the quest on a long-run family farm, the result can be the same. An experience that becomes a tradition, signaling the start of the Christmas season and creating memories for years to come.