Cutting own Christmas tree yields freshness, memories

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 25, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – You’ve got to get out to the farm pretty early to beat the Christmas tree die-hards.

&uot;People started coming out last Saturday to tag trees to cut later,&uot; said Marie Potts, owner of Marie’s Trees near Ferriday. &uot;But one woman actually cut down her tree that day, because her sister was in town and they wanted to decorate the tree then.&uot;

Faye Fletcher, co-owner of Fletcher and Sons Tree Farm in south Catahoula Parish, said that farm opened Nov. 1. &uot;People come out and select and pay for their tree, then come back later and cut it,&uot;&160;she said.

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But they were not surprised that people would go to such lengths because, according to both women, there are many advantages to cutting one’s own Christmas tree. For one thing, a freshly-cut tree is usually much fresher than an already cut tree, Potts said.

In addition, a buyer can choose on site the exact type and size of tree he wants from dozens of pines, cypresses and cedars.

But Fletcher – whose farm has Virginia pine, cedar and Leyland cypress trees – said that perhaps the biggest advantage of cutting one’s own Christmas tree is memories that last long after the tree has been recycled.

For her part, Fletcher loves to bring her grandchildren to her tree farm to select a tree.

The Fletchers play Christmas music on their farm to set the mood. And the family videotapes and takes pictures each year to commemorate the event.

&uot;It’s a family thing the kids can take part in,&uot;&160;said Fletcher, whose farm also hosts school field trips. &uot;It’s like the good old days.&uot;

&uot;It’s just a tradition with some folks, … the fun of coming out and picking your own tree,&uot;&160;Potts added.

Potts advises tree seekers to look out for gaps in a tree’s branches or bad spots on its needles, and to look at the top of a tree to make sure it is full enough.

&uot;But different people look for different things in their Christmas trees,&uot; said Potts, whose farm has Virginia pine and Leyland cypress trees. &uot;But that’s the good thing about cutting your own – you get to choose.&uot;