Christmas Tree Farm: Kerstbomen Liempde, Netherlands

Even though Sinterklaas has not left the Netherlands yet, we wanted to get our Christmas tree up.  I know it’s only Dec 1st but as we were heading to Vlieland for a few nights and I’m scheduled to have surgery, and then Christmas was right around the corner, we didn’t want to wait too long.  Plus it’s cozy to have a Christmas tree up in the house. 

There is a vendor sending selling Xmas trees in the Den Bosch markt but I wanted to find a place to cut down our own tree.   Nearby our old house in Liempde/Boxtel, there is tree farm called Kerstbomen Liempde.   I know the traditional cut your own tree farm with all the extras like hot chocolate, etc would not be had here in The Netherlands but what we did find was perfect too.   I heard about this place from my MIL.  When we arrived, we were pointed to a couple different fields with different types of trees.  I knew what I wanted  – one that had firm needles and wasn’t too full.  I do like a bit of a Charlie Brown tree.  After walking around for a bit I found the one – and to my huge surprise it was only €25.  I think that was a GREAT price considering some years we paid over €85.  

The owner, Richard, was very helpful and friendly and after he cut down the tree, he brought it to our car and did a bit of extra trimming for me.  I wanted to ensure it fit into the stand (which I brought with me).  I’ve learned my lesson getting the tree home and finding out it’s too wide to fit into the stand and as I don’t own a saw, I didn’t want to hack at it with my breadknife (had to do that last year).  Thankfully our car is big enough it fit. 

With a little help from my reindeer the tree was up and we’re enjoying it each and every day!   This year I opt’d for white lights, though I’m sure the kids prefer the coloured lights we had last year.  

Our tree is up and decorated with special sentimental ornaments we collect from our travels and we’re enjoying it every day. 

 

Wicklow Way Christmas Tree Farm

Every December, buying our Christmas tree is a major event in our house.  Okay when I think about it more, it is ME which makes it a bigger deal than it and I love the memories it brings for me and the kids.  As a child, we never cut down our tress – we just bought  one from the local seller and brought it home and put it up.  I have no cozy memories of tree farms  and I want that for my little ones.

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Our first year in Dublin, we set out on an adventure to cut down our own tree and ended up at Slade Valley Christmas Tree Farm. and it was brilliant.  The tree was lovely and I want a good experience again this year with a bit more atmosphere.  You can’t beat a real tree which we pick out, cut down and enjoy in our home.  Plus a real, freshly-cut tree looks and smells great.

Only this year we will try a different tree farm in the Wicklow Mountains – Wicklow Way Tree Farm in Roundstone.  Their  website looks great, clearly a full campaign was put in place.  If for some reason we could not find it, there are several in Wicklow so I’m sure it would be fine.

While it seems far, the drive from our house was just over 1 hour so not bad at all and we were into the mountains.  There was a bit of snow the night before and much more expected Sunday along with the fact that Nils is heading to the US for a week, we took advantage of this one day we had to get the tree in the mountains.

Once we reached Roundstone it was very easy to find our way – these blue signs lead us right to the farm.

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The farm was lovely – the staff was very friendly and informative and the instructions were clear.  Tag the tree, flag down a guy in blue and then relax and warm up while they cut down.  We parked the car and got out wellies on as the ground was very mucky and wet.  It wasn’t even 5 minutes before the kids noticed the white fluffy snow which fell last night and they were off and going crazy in it.

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We walked a while trying to find the right tree… kids played with the snow while I keep searching for the right one.  A few measurements and we found one that we all liked.

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After Soren watched the man cut down our tree, we had complimentary hot chocolate and minced pies & treats while we waited for our tree to be brought down from the field and a net put around it.

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Overall the experience was great – we’d highly recommend this tree farm to anyone who is looking to go pick out your own tree.  The cost was very reasonable too at £8. a foot, you can choose how much you want to spend.

Only problem is that our tree this year is a bit taller than before so I don’t have enough lights to cover it so tomorrow, we’ll go buy more led bright lights to add to it.

Will post a photo when completed with loads of new glass ornaments.

And the final decorated tree.

Christmas Tree: Slade Valley Christmas Tree Farm, Wicklow Mountains, Ireland

On Sunday, we all bundled up and headed out towards Meath to see if we could find Wades Christmas Tree Farm which we read about on a landscaper’s blog.   Well after driving around and finally asking in a local pub, we learned that it had been closed down for a few years and that it will take a few more to have the crop ready.  Grrr…. so not sure what to do, we drove towards IKEA as we know they had an offer – buy a tree for 30 and get a 20 store credit to be used in January – great deal!!  But when we arrived at IKEA, Nils said he’d prefer to go to a tree farm as we had planned and started to head south towards Wicklow Mountains – a place we keep finding ourselves drawn.

We did a quick check in the car park and found a list of “Irish Christmas Tree Growers” and found Slade Valley Christmas Tree Farm – amazing how technology and wifi help us in our day-to-day!!

When we arrived, they had a section of trees which they just cut and continue to replenish throughout the day.  Many people came and just picked up one of these trees but we first walked around the field in the back to see what trees were currently in the ground.  The concept was that you find a tree you like, tag it with a white ribbon supplied and then a man comes and cuts it down for you.  Normally the field is home to sheep and it was obvious, for the mounds and mounds of poo all over the ground – thankfully the kids were in their wellies.   At first we were trying to be cautious but after five minutes, it was clear that was not an option!!

The view is spectacular – and from the photo, it’s probably clear as to why we love the Wicklow Mountains and find ourselves there often.


The field even had this cute guy next to it, watching us.

As we walked around, we spotted many trees which we liked but just didn’t want to cut it down as it was the “one”.  I was after a tree which was somewhat sparse as I like the look of seeing all the lights and ornaments hanging down.  We went back up to the lot to see what they had just as a guy was taking off some newly cut trees… and after looking at about a dozen, I found one that I liked.  So we packed it in the trunk and headed off in search of a pub where we could have a meal.

After two days of letting it settle and 360 colorful super bright multi-colored lights (kids choice), we decorated it with all our ornaments.

The glass and more special ones which we collected overthe past years go to the top.  I’ve started buying ornaments from places we’ve visited.


Now that our tree is hung, the kids love looking at it.

Speaking of lights – originally the tree was going to have 700 lights on it, but as it took me nearly 1 hour to untangle the brand new lights.  Thankfully, I didn’t open the package and they are going back — those extra lights are just not worth the aggravation!!!


Last year our tree was a bit girly with pinks and silvers… so this year I hope to change it up a bit. The balls are still okay, it’s just instead of the pink lights, I was thinking of getting some warm white ones but the kids yelled “bright, colorful, rainbow ones“, so I think they’ve just swayed me towards colored LED ones.  After all they are going to enjoy it just as much as me.   When we lived in Winthrop (2007-2010) our tree had blue lights – I thought it was cute but wouldn’t go back to blue lights now.  One day I’ll have a “kids tree” in their playroom and an adult tree in the living room.
When we lived in Boston, our family spent an afternoon at Crane Neck Christmas Tree Farm cutting down our own Christmas tree – which I loved. We bundled up, grabbed a saw, and spent nearly an hour wandering around the farm, in search of that perfect tree. I even like the places which you go in August and tag our tree and come back and cut it down after Thanksgiving.  I love the atmosphere of these type places – very New England – which at times I do miss and hope to return other times, I’m okay living abroad – but that is for another time.

We called it our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree as it was a bit bare but the best part was that it was FIVE dollars!  Yes, only $5.00 – hard to believe.

We’ve seen a lot of places in the area which sell pre-cut trees on the side of the road, but those tend to have been cut in September & October so often are very dry and lose all needles quickly.  We were suckered into buying a $65.00 special Fraser fir tree from the lot at Ace Hardware in Winthrop, MA.  We were told it was amazing at needle-retention and in the matter of days dried out despite keeping it full of water.   Pfff – I’d much prefer my $5.00 wicked bargain!

 

Crane Neck Christmas Tree Farm: West Newbury, MA

Today the four of us set out to cut down our own Christmas tree! Sure part of us was thinking it was terrible to cut down a tree, bu the other part was tarnished from last year’s experience we wanted it to be as fresh as fresh could be and wanted to start a new family tradition.

So after some research we decided to head to Crane Neck Christmas Tree Farm in West Newbury. Such a nice, family-friendly place. I vaguely remember cutting down our tree 15 years so with the McIntyre family but it’s completely foreign and out of my mind.


Upon arrival we were greeted and asked if we knew what type of tree we wanted to find. I said we had loved the look of the Fraiser Fir from last year but the experience with it dying with a week of getting it home was so poor, we wanted to see what they had first. One thing was for sure, I wanted to get a glance at their $5.00 trees, yep that is right, $5.00 trees! They were nothing worth taking but we had some laughs.

We were told the general direction of some trees which would fit our needs and off we went complete with a sleigh for pulling the tree back and a saw.  How fun, right!?  It sort of backfired on us as Maebh was so tired she cried and hated almost every minute of the expedition. Soren had a lot of fun and next year will just be better!

A little past the $50 and $60 trees was a little section of “discounted trees” with tags… well a few were terrible and most were half decent. I think we lucked out too because come tomorrow (Saturday & Sunday) I think most of the “cheapo” trees will be taken.

Enjoy the photos, we had a lot of fun!

Now that was cool for a 4 year old – this net thing took the three and made it smaller and manageable!

As we were leaving some horse riders were going by – a treat for a 4 year old!

Who knew that a simple wooden board with a snowman painted on it and a hole for a face could be so entertaining.

 

Can you believe it, we ended up with a FIVE DOLLARS tree and to some it’s a bit like Charlie Brown’s tree, I love it.  Once decorated it will be great!

More information about the tree farm can be found on their site.  With most tree farms, depending on their size, they have to let their trees catch up, etc.  So before you head off, call or check for their site for hours and their inventory – not point in going if they are not selling trees this year