As the season of poinsettias and mulled cider approaches each year, so does an often inescapable longing to be somewhere more . . . well . . . Christmas-y. Oh, to be one of those flannel-clad Yankees in snow boots, axe in hand, searching his back yard for the perfect little fir! Well take heart, nature lovers, you don’t have to string chile bulbs around a six-foot saguaro to bring a bit of the outdoors indoors at Christmastime. Texas has its own wealth of farms, where you can cut your own tree, or get a potted one to plant outside after Santa has come and gone. With a little elbow grease (and maybe some flocking for good measure), you can sport a tree that will have Lumberjack Joe shouting, “‘Tis the season to be y’all-y!”
The ABCs of Southern trees
While the Fraser fir, Scotch pine, and other northern conifers make up the majority of precut stock in local lots, Texas has its own breeds of homegrown trees. Here’s a rundown of the more popular contenders for the prized spot in your living room.
A dense, conical shape and longevity make the Leland cypress (LC) a prime choice. Its needles will spend the holidays on the tree, not in your carpet. The most common species at Southern farms, the Virginia pine (VP), has short needles and a strong piney smell, while its West Texas brother, the Afghan pine (AP), has a milder fragrance. Soft needles grace the Afghan’s more openly spaced branches. Those with a decidedly traditional flair might prefer the dense eastern red cedar (ERC), a native, fragrant tree common in the homes of yesteryear. Unfortunately, they have sticky needles and won’t live as long indoors as some others. If you want something a little larger and more tree-shaped, try a loblolly pine (LP), with a straight trunk and dense oval crown. Or, if you’re in the mood for something exotic, how about a Arizona cypress (AC), or Blue Ice, of New Zealand, or their relative, the Carolina Sapphire (CS). These have bluish-green foliage, and the Blue Ice resists bugs and disease and tolerates extreme climates.
Where To Get One
Here’s a list of a few of the Christmas tree farms Texas has to offer. Check out texaschristmastrees.com for more information.
Childress Ag Enterprises
11028 CR 452
Cross Plains, TX 76443
Open Mon-Sat during daylight hours, Sun 1 p.m.-dark. Cut or dig your own. AP.
Elgin Christmas Tree Farm
Old McDade Rd.
Elgin, TX 78621
Open November 23 until weekend before Christmas; Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sun noon-5:30. Choose and cut your own and wholesale. VP, LC, potted LC. Hayrides, fresh wreaths, Elgin sausage on weekends, cider and hot chocolate on cold days.
Evergreen Farms Christmas Trees
242 Monkey Rd.
Elgin, TX 78621
Open November 23; Mon-Fri noon-dark, Sat & Sun 9 a.m.-dark. Choose and cut your own and wholesale. VP, potted LC, AP. Hayrides, gifts, arts and crafts, campfire with marshmallows.
D Bar B Christmas Tree Farm
251 Santa Claus Ln.
Shepherd, TX 77371
Open Thanksgiving Day; 7 days 9 a.m.-5 p.m. All trees cleaned and secured to vehicles at no cost. Netting $2. VP, potted LC, RC. Gift shop, picnic area, fresh wreaths, homemade jam, jelly, and salsa.
1690 NE CR 2220
Kerens, TX 75144
Open November 23; Fri, Sat & Sun 10 a.m.-dark. VP, LC, CS. Hayrides, picnic areas, wreaths, flocking, Santa Claus.
Jingle Bell Ranch
20139 Telge Rd.
Tomball, TX 77375
Open November 23; Mon-Fri noon-dark, Sat & Sun 9 a.m.-dark. Choose and cut your own. VP, LP, LC, AC, potted trees available. Wreaths, garland, kissing balls, poinsettias, decorated mini Christmas trees. Weekend fire truck rides, hayrides, picnic area.
Kelumac Christmas Tree Farm
10379 Taylor Rd.
Bryan, TX 77808
Open November 23; Sat & Sun 9 a.m.-dark. VP, potted LC. Bed-and-breakfast accommodations, gift shop, picnic area, fishing pond.
2907 FM 121
Van Alstyne, TX 75495
Open November 23; Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat & Sun 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Choose and cut your own or someone on the staff will do it for you. VP, LC, LP, CS. Handcrafted ornaments, gifts and wreaths, hayrides, bonfires, walking trails, picnic areas. Tree shaking and baling available.