December 2010

For the past few years, we have included information on where to go to cut down your own Christmas tree on the Christmas Page.

My husband and I decided to get our Christmas tree the “old-fashioned way” the first year we moved into our own house. We put the quad in the back of the pick-up truck, wore warm winter clothes and drove out to the woods near Millarville with our map and $5 permit from Alberta Sustainable Development. The trees closest to the road were kind of spindly so we rode the quad deeper into the woods, chainsaw shackled to it and went in search of The Perfect Christmas Tree.

Sadly we discovered the Perfect Christmas Tree doesn’t exist in the woods. The Perfect Christmas Tree is grown on a tree farm, carefully cultivated with the right amount of water, fertilizer and pruning to have abundant branches, luxuriant needles and of course that intoxicating pine scent.

So we came home with a sparse (but still beautiful to us) Lodge Pole pine which although it lacked in girth and copiousness of needles, certainly made up for in charm. And the value of a good story must never be overlooked either; we love telling how we came motoring out of the woods with our prize tree strapped to the ATV while other poor souls dragged theirs out on foot looking at us with blatant irritation and barely disguised envy.

The next year, and the years following, we didn’t do the cut your own tree thing because I was either pregnant or had a small child attached to me. This year, however, both the little clingers are old enough to traipse through the woods on their own! Joy! Although we figured that not only are they too young to be strapped to the ATV, 4 of us upon it would be both illegal and ill-advised, so we went out to the Alberta Junior Forest Wardens lot with some friends to get our trees. What a hoot!


This year the lot is near Sibbald Creek area, about 45 minutes west of the city. It’s a pretty simple set up and there are people directing traffic so that although it was quite busy, there was never a problem manoeuvering all the trucks and SUV’s about. There are port-a-toilets (yay), a shack selling hot dogs and hot chocolate (much appreciated by our crew) and a massive roaring fire to sit around and warm ourselves (whoo hoo!).

We schlepped up the hill in search of The Perfect Christmas Tree, and were quickly reminded that it doesn’t exist in the wild… However, we did find a beautiful specimen, got lots of exercise and fresh air, and spent some lovely time together as a family.

So is it cheaper to go this route? Once you factor in the price of fuel for the trek to the woods (and the 2 hubcaps we lost off our winter tires….) and that you could get a great tree for about $35 at Superstore, I’d say no. But the memories, oh the memories of (accidentally) hitting my friend’s son square in the face with a snowball, watching Billy and Helen roll around in the snow, listening to the men good-naturedly complain about the weight of the trees; those are priceless!

For more information see Cut Your Own Christmas Tree.