‘Tis the Season for decking the halls with a New Hampshire Christmas Tree!

If you’ve never cut down your own Christmas Tree, why not make this the year you try it!  Harvest your own experiences at New Hampshire Christmas Tree Farms range from cutting your own tree, to taking a horse-drawn wagon ride to roasting marshmallows by a fire.  So what are you waiting for? Get family and friends together, make a day of it and head out to a farm near you.

Rows of Christmas Trees at Rocks Estate

Family picture at tree farm in front of tree

You know there’s nothing quite like a fragrant fir to decorate your home during the holidays, my family started the tradition of harvesting our own tree several years ago and it’s a wonderful way to make memories.

Snowfall on rows of trees

In New Hampshire, there are more than 200 Christmas Tree growers, and you can find dozens of farms from the north to the south where you can cut your own tree!

Buildings at Rocks Estate

Christmas trees baled in front of building

To give you a flavor of the harvest your own experience, we traveled to the Rocks Estate in the little town of Bethlehem, where they’ve been growing Christmas trees for more than 35 years.   There are more than 45,000 trees located on the 1400 acre farm.  Every summer they’re all hand-pruned for perfect shaping.

Rows of different sizes of trees, some seedlings

It can take between four to 15 years to grow a 6-7 foot Christmas Tree.  At the Rocks they plant the seedlings when they’re 4 to 5 years old, and tend to them for the next 6 to 9 years before they’re harvested.

Trees by building ready to be shipped mail order

Loading trees onto truck for delivery to retail stores

If you can’t make it out to a farm to cut your own, consider having one shipped! Some NH farms offer mail order.  Pretty cool to have a farm fresh tree arrive right at your door!  Some of New Hampshire’s bigger farms ship their trees to retail locations all over New Hampshire, and to New England and beyond!

So let’s talk about the types of trees you’ll find at New Hampshire tree farms.  In general, there’s balsam and fraser firs, the Fralsam (a hybrid of the two), Blue Spruce, and many other unique varieties.  So which tree should you get? How do you tell the difference between the various varieties? What should you do when you get to a farm? We asked Nigel Manley for his expert opinion.  Nigel runs the Rocks Estate, is a member of the New Hampshire Christmas Tree Promotion Board and is on the Advisory Committee for the National Christmas Tree Promotion Board, among several others.

Hauling the tree out of the field

The Rocks offers Frasers, Balsams and the Canaan, which is a type of Balsam.  So find your favorite fir, grab a saw and get to it!  I will say it’s best to have 2 people for this part of the process and before you know it, it’s timber time.  Then the tree is ready to be pulled from the field.

Various displays inside Gift Shop

Another view inside Gift Shop

In addition to acres of pick your own trees, many farms have gift shops, some even offer  New Hampshire made products. So why not check a few items of your holiday shopping list while you’re out and about!

Inside wreath shop with ladies decorating wreaths

Exterior of building with decorated wreaths hanging on barn doors

At the Rocks, they also have a wreath shop and let me tell you production here is in full swing – this season alone they’ll make about 3200 decorated wreaths.

Wagon at Rocks Tree Farm

The experience doesn’t end with cutting down your tree.  How about a horse-drawn wagon ride? Talk about a feeling of nostalgia that only adds to the festive atmosphere that comes around during this time of year.

Kris roasting a marshmallow at fire pit

Round out your experience by spending some time by the fire, warming up with a cup of hot cocoa and who can resist making S’Mores.

Tree being baled up to travel on top of a car

Most farms will wrap up your tree for traveling before you hit the road, a fragrant home grown piece of New Hampshire ready for you to deck the halls of your home.  Don’t forget to follow Live Free with Kris on Facebook and Instagram to see what we’re highlighting next this holiday season.