- Rose Kennedy For the AJC
Atlantans have dozens of places to pick up a freshly cut tree, but where do you go if you're looking for the rigor and reward of cutting down your own Christmas tree?
Whether you want to go retro with your live evergreen purchase this year or you've always dreamed of cutting your own tree, these Atlanta-area tree farms can make make that fantasy come true.
You can enjoy the experience without environmental worry, too, since the Georgia Christmas Tree Association assures us that Christmas tree farms actually benefit the environment. The growing trees absorb CO2 and other gases and emit fresh oxygen along with stabilizing soil and providing refuge for wildlife. After the holiday, the trees can be repurposed as soil erosion barriers and fish-pond feeding areas or turned into mulch.
The GCTA does caution that those who are picking a tree from a cut-your-own farm should be aware that trees look much smaller midst other trees.
"The sky or clouds are a rather high ceiling," said the association. " When you look at a tree in the field remember the height of your ceiling at home and select one that is at least 6 inches shorter. "
Here are seven farms in the area where you can begin a throwback holiday by choosing and cutting your own tree:
9 a.m.-6 p.m. starting Thanksgiving Day and closing a week or two before Christmas. Check their Facebook page before you go. No admission fee for the public during Christmas tree season
3565 Hwy 155 N, Stockbridge. 770-954-9356.
The family farm sells pre-cut, cut-your-own and flocked trees. During the season they offer complimentary hot apple cider and candy canes any day they're open. On the weekends, the farm offers free hay rides and a petting zoo. A great choice if you have young kids who might get bored with the tree thing quickly.
Tree sale begins Nov. 18 through Dec. 17 unless they run out of trees before then. Noon to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday; Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
1829 Prospect Road, Lawrenceville. 770-513-2552.
Not only can you chop down your our own tree, but this family-friendly tree farm also offers free hot chocolate, cider, and hay rides. S’mores kits available for purchase. Santa will be making a visit from 10 :30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2.
Hours: Opens day after Thanksgiving 9 a.m. to Dusk; Saturdays 9 a.m. to dusk; Closed Sundays; Weekdays 4 p.m. to dusk
14680 Wood Road, Milton.770-475-0713. www.hunterschristmastreefarm.com
This tree farm features complimentary Christmas hot chocolate and cookies and, of course, Santa. Trees grown at Hunters are also sent out to service members overseas through the Trees for Troops program.
Coker Tree Farm
Beginning Nov. 24, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. weekdays,
2280 Macland Road, Marietta. 770-424-8047 cokertreefarm.com
A sweet, simple choose-and-cut place, Coker Tree Farm's most popular tree is a Murray Cypress. You can also cut down Leyland Cypress and the Carolina Sapphire, which the farm website describes as "without a doubt the most fragrant tree in the Christmas tree industry."
10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends and noon-6 p.m. weekdays starting Nov. 24 and running until they don't have any more trees.
628 Sleepy Hollow Road, Powder Springs. 770-942-6770. www.sleepyhollowtrees.com
For a wide selection and a place to take photos for the family holiday card, Sleepy Hollow is just right. Cut your own offerings include Leyland Cypress, Murray Cypress, Virginia Pines, Carolina Sapphires, Blue Ice and Naylor’s Blue and they also sell fresh-cut (by someone else) Fraser Firs. Did you see “Stranger Things” Season 2? You’ve seen this farm.
The Kinsey Family Farm
Beginning Nov. 18-Dec. 20, noon-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun. and Black Friday, closed Thanksgiving
7170 Jot-em Down Road, Gainesville. 770-887-6028
This could easily become a tradition. A visit to the Kinsey Farm includes holiday music, marshmallow roasting and hot chocolate at the barn before wagoning to the fields to begin your quest for the perfect Christmas tree. The Kinseys (and you'll probably meet at least one of the kinfolks on your visit) are all about choice: the farm's slections include choose-and-cut, pre-cut and living trees in containers. A Trees for Troops farm.
Nov. 24-Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends and Friday, Nov. 24; 3 p.m.-6 p.m. weekdays
786 Arnold Mill Rd, Woodstock. 770-926-0561 www.berrypatchfarms.net
After cutting down your own Leyland Cypress or choosing a pre-cut Fraser Fir, rest on the porch with a warm funnel cake and hot apple cider.
Still have a place in your heart for artificial trees? Find out which fake Christmas tree has been dubbed the best in America.