Every year for my entire life, the weekend after Thanksgiving, we’d tromp through my uncle Bill’s tree patch to find the perfect Christmas tree. We’d chop it down, he’d bale it for us, and we’d go home and listen to Christmas music, Mama would make a big pot of soup, and we’d decorate our tree. Those are some of my most cherished Christmas memories.
My uncle Bill was a special man. Unapologetically himself. You’d really have to have known him to know what I mean, but lets just say he was one of a kind and I loved him very much. He was one of the first people we told that we were pregnant with Landon, and we snapped this picture right after we told him the news. What I wouldn’t give for our kids to have the same sweet memories with him that I have!
My uncle Bill died two years ago, and we knew after his death, picking out our Christmas tree would never be the same. It really was, in some ways, the end of an era.
So, Landon’s first Christmas was our first year having to find our tree elsewhere. I was sad and wanted so badly to find a new tradition to treasure with my baby. We scrambled around at the last minute and finally chose a little tree lot where we were able to get a pretty tree and snap a few pictures to remember Landon’s first tree-picking experience. It was fine, but I wasn’t really satisfied with it. I wanted something more. Something special. Something we’d all look forward to year after year.
This year, we set out to find a Christmas tree and I vaguely remembered seeing a friend of mine post a picture at a tree farm nearby on Instagram. I couldn’t remember if she had said the exact location, so I went back and found her post, and sure enough, it said “Elk River Evergreens.” We made our way down to Elk Park, which is only about 15 minutes from my grandparent’s house in Banner Elk, with no idea what to expect. We had high hopes, and I am so glad to say that our experience there far exceeded our expectations!
Come to find out, her family actually owns this tree farm and let me just say that you could feel the love, happiness, and excitement buzzing around the entire property. There were a ton of people there – hundreds even- and everything was so well organized. There were workers there helping guide the cars as you parked, and then once you got out, a worker met you and asked your name and where you’re from, which they wrote on a tag and gave you to attach to the tree once you’d picked it out. There were thousands of beautiful trees to choose from, a hay ride that took you up the hill, and they gave you a card with the prices listed and clear instructions for what to do once you’d found your tree.
We had the most fun looking through the trees, just letting Landon run and play and explore. This year, everything is so fascinating for him. It’s like he’s seeing everything for the first time and I wish I could just bottle up the wonder and awe in his eyes. It’s magical.
The farm has tons of cute photo ops, super friendly workers, and a cute cafe complete with checkers on every table where you can get hot chocolate, apple cider, and popcorn. They even had little bags of animal crackers for the kiddos, all completely free of charge.
There is also a gift shop where you can purchase beautiful, unique ornaments and Christmas decor. They sell wreaths there, too, and you have a chance to look at everything and get a snack while they bale your tree and take it to your car for you.
For some families, finding a new place to get a Christmas tree would be no big deal, but for mine it was truly an answer to prayers. I don’t like change and really value traditions, so after my uncle Bill’s death, this new tradition to begin with our growing family is something I just can’t stop talking about! It’s been several weeks and I’m still telling everyone about it!
I know this post is a little late, because by December 6th most people already have their trees up, but I just had to share what a great experience my family had at Elk River Evergreens in Elk Park, NC. If you haven’t got a tree yet, you still have time! Their last day of the season is this coming Sunday, December 10th and I promise, it’s worth the drive! We are already looking forward to going back next year! To see their facebook page, click here!