Holidays In NC
Choose And Cut Christmas Trees
The holiday season brings families from all over the Southeast to the mountains of North Carolina in search of the perfect Christmas tree. The state boasts more than 70 choose-and-cut farms that, in addition to acres of evergreens, offer plenty of holiday activities and yuletide cheer.
“It’s not so much about trees, it’s about the experience,” says James Pitts, who with his wife Helen owns Sugar Plum Farms in Avery County. “This is about getting the family together and enjoying an entire day of holiday season fun.”
At Sugar Plum Farms, located approximately 25 miles southwest of Boone, guests take an old-fashioned hayride complete with caroling to the top of the mountain to enjoy the scenic landscape and make their selections from the crop of Fraser fir and blue spruce trees. After measuring, cutting and marking their finds, visitors leave their trees with Sugar Plum staff, who wrap and load the trees for the trip home.
Back at the bottom of the hill, children can visit with Santa on the weekends, or leave a letter in his mailbox to receive a personal reply. In addition, the farm offers a marshmallow and hotdog roast near its lake, a holiday gift shop, and even accommodations packages from nearby mountain hotels for those who’d like to stay the weekend.
“We know we’re competing with the artificial trees,” says Helen Pitts. “But we think that by making the process of choose-and-cut a fun family outing, we can give them a great holiday tradition. Besides, trees harvested right off the farm are fresher, smell better, and will stay green for many weeks.”
North Carolina is the second-leading producer of Christmas trees in the United States, and for every tree harvested here, another one is planted. More than 90 percent of the trees grown in North Carolina are Fraser firs, known for their needle retention, dark green color and classic evergreen aroma. Perhaps that’s why the North Carolina Fraser fir has been selected as the White House Christmas tree a record-breaking 12 times.
Visit the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association to find a choose-and-cut experience near you. Please note days and hours of operation vary by location.
added: May 22, 2009
updated: November 26, 2012