Picking out a tree with the family is a special tradition
Child at Christmas Tree Farm
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As a kid, my family would visit a Christmas tree farm every year in search of the perfect tree. When we found a suitable candidate, my dad would pull out our trusty (or, sometimes not-so-trusty) saw and claim our towering green prize. The Christmas season seems to be defined by these memories—the ones we make with our families. It's the padding of tiny feet on soft pine needles, and the smell of fir wafting through the trees. It's the wind whistling through the branches, red noses bundled up in heavy wool scarves, and a swig of hot chocolate to warm little bellies.

Here are five family-owned Christmas tree farms we love.

Hollow Creek Tree Farm; Gilbert, South Carolina
Founded forty years ago by the late JW McCartha, Hollow Creek Tree Farm started off selling cedars and white pines. In 1980, the farm expanded to choose-and-cut-trees. Now, Mike McCartha grows nine types of tree on 20 acres of his 36-acre farm. If you have a hankering for an aromatic evergreen but can't find any in the warm South Carolina weather, Hollow Creek also brings in fresh Fraser Firs from Boone, NC. Check out the prize-winning Leyland Cypress, Blue Ice Cypress, Murray Cypress, White Pine, Deodar Cedar, the well-loved Virginia Pine, Carolina Sapphire, Red Cedar, and Thuja Green Giant. Visit on the weekend for free hayrides, or grab a complimentary cup of hot chocolate during all open hours.
Opens Wednesday, November 16.

7 G's Farm; Nicholson, Georgia
If you're like me, your first question was, ‘what do the 7 G's stand for?' Answer: the seven children of Roy and Beulah Tolbert Smith—Gail, Greg, Gloria, Gary, Greta, Glenn and Gina. Currently owned and operated by the Smith children, their spouses, and the children's children—7 G's farm has over 6,000 trees planted on 25 acres of land. Free shaking and saws are provided. Choose from trees up to 30' tall. Shop the store for homemade jellies and elegant wreaths, or visit on a weekend for hot apple cider and boiled peanuts. 7 G's farm is also a sponsor of Trees for Troops, and donates nearly 100 trees per year to military families.
Opens Saturday, November 19.

Bluebird Christmas Tree Farm; Heiskell, Tennessee
For more tree varieties, check out East Tennessee's Bluebird Christmas Tree Farm. Established in 1983, the trees were finally grown and put on the market in 1989. Leo Collins, the farm's owner, hosts about seven acres of Leyland Cypress, Virginia Pine, Norway Spruce, Arizona Cypress, and White Pine. When visitors aren't busy searching for the perfect tree, they can browse through the farm's gift shop, which features all local, small-batch products like handmade toys, jams, honey, and sorghum. A warm fire and hot beverages are also available to guests.
Opens Thursday, November 17.

Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm; Waynesville, North Carolina
For a family experience you won't soon forget, visit Boyd Mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains. The farm—which spans over 130 acres—has been in the Boyd family for over 100 years, with the first Fraser Firs planted in 1984. With both cut-your-own and pre-cut Fraser Firs, Boyd Mountain is devoted to the guest experience, and even has a virtual tour on their site for guests to see before visiting. Find the hospitality tent for crafts, tasty treats, and complimentary refreshments. If you're looking to spend more time in the Maggie Valley area, check out the farm's restored log cabin rentals.
Opens Friday, November 11.

Plantation Pines Christmas Tree Farm; Tyler, Texas
You may not immediately associate tree farms with Texas, but this second-generation family-owned farm grows both Leyland Cyprus and Virginia Pine trees. With trees up to ten feet in height, the Wiggins family also brings in Fraser Firs from North Carolina for those Texans who want a taste of the colder-grown Southern favorite. When the farm began in the early eighties, it hosted just Christmas trees and blueberry crops—now guests can expect hayrides, hot chocolate, a campfire, farm animals, swings, s'mores, and fresh wreaths.
Opens Thanksgiving Day, 1 pm.