A chill has returned to the air, meaning that the holidays are quickly approaching. Throughout Thurston County, signs of the season are out in full force. One of the many holiday events that is great fun for families is the annual search for a Christmas tree. While tree shops seem to appear overnight on Thanksgiving weekend, many find the best way to get a Christmas tree is to visit a local tree farm and cut your own. Washington State is one of the major producers of Christmas trees in America, with over 250 Christmas tree farms selling over 2.3 million Christmas trees in 2015. While 92% of Christmas trees grown in the Pacific Northwest are exported out of the region, we have a unique opportunity to head out to one of the many local Christmas tree farms and find the perfect one for ourselves.

In Thurston and its neighboring counties, there are dozens of tree farms to choose from. While each have their own unique aspects and fun experiences, there are a handful of local tree farms that are sure to put you and your family in the holiday spirit. With sleigh rides and warm drinks, nativity scenes and fantastic light displays, a visit to one of these tree farms will have you in the holiday spirit with the perfect tree in tow.

1. Hunter Family Farm

Splendid views of Mount Rainier greet visitors at Hunter Family Farm. Photo credit: Marty Weisbrod

Since 1948, Hunter Family Farm has been growing trees for the holidays, transforming into a cut your own tree/fresh tree farm in the 1970s. Since then, they haven’t looked back, providing one of the iconic holiday experiences Thurston County. While some places may charge you per tree, Hunter’s charges by the foot when you cut your own tree. Keep in mind that the costs can differ, depending on the type of tree you select. According to their website, the prices for 2017 will be Douglas Firs at $4.75 a foot, Grand Fir at $6.75 a foot, Norway Spruce at $6.75 a foot, and Nordmann and Noble Fir at $8.50 a foot.

The cost of already cut trees may be a bit higher as they are ready and waiting for you to take home. Hunter Family Farm is more than just a tree farm, giving you a chance to see farm animals, including reindeer, and enjoy a holiday shop full of great gifts for the whole family. Hunter’s will open on Friday, November 24 and will stay open until December 23. Weekday hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and weekend hours are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

2. Clyde ’n Dale’s Holiday Trees and Gifts

Dutch and Bob, the Palomino Percherons at Clyde ‘n Dales Holiday Trees and Gifts are ready to help you find the perfect tree.

For nearly twenty years, Clyde ’n Dale’s has been providing holiday family fun and beautiful trees. Tucked up against the Black Hills in western Thurston County, this 10-acre farm might become the cornerstone of your holiday family traditions. This place truly is fun for the whole family. Santa visits the farm every Sunday, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., a BBQ Truck serves delicious food, a horse-drawn trolley takes you to the trees and there is even hot cider and live music to enjoy. Make sure to visit their website to see all the events they have planned this year. Opening on November 24, Clyde ’n Dale’s Holiday Trees and Gifts is open Friday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Prices range from $35 for a Douglas Fir to $45 for a Grand fir and $55 for a Fraser or Noble Fir.

3. Schilter Family Farm

Schilter Farm’s Christmas Trees covered in a rare Thurston County snow.

In the Nisqually Valley, another incredible Christmas tree destination is awaiting you and your loved ones. Known as Schilter Family Farm, this 180 acre farm is a classic local destination well known for their pumpkin patch fun and is sure to be a favorite for your holiday tree outing, too. The Christmas tree season kicks off on the Friday after Thanksgiving at 9:00 a.m. and is open until dusk. Schilter Family Farm continues to be open daily until they close for the season on December 17.

On Saturdays, Santa will visit the farm for pictures and to hear your wishes, while holiday wreaths and fudge will be available to purchase. On the weekends, you can take a hayride to and from the Christmas Tree Forest and once you purchase the perfect tree you can have it shaken, drilled to perfectly fit a tree stand and even have it netted so you can drive it home, worry free. Prices for trees vary, but Schilter Family Farm’s website has it laid out in an easy to read chart.

4. Black Lake Christmas Trees

For over three decades, Black Lake Christmas Trees has been hooking up locals who venture out to Black Lake with high quality trees in a fun holiday environment. While the other farm’s amenities are not found at Black Lake Christmas Trees, what you will find is a family run business by people who want to ensure you find the absolute perfect tree for your home. Open daily from 11:00 a.m. until dark starting November 22 through December 24, this small, friendly farm is perfectly paced if you are hoping for a calm and relaxing experience wandering through Christmas Trees. Offering a myriad of different trees, including the fragrant thick Grand Fir and even a few “Charlie Brown Trees” which are said to be “not quite perfect,” this farm’s beautiful trees are priced perfectly. They also sell handmade wreaths and even noble and fir boughs so you can make our own

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at submit@thurstontalk.com. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and the surrounding area, visit our complete events calendar.

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