For those of you who like to make buying the Christmas tree a special event: Here's a list of area cut-your-own farms. If you're looking for a grander journey, there are also links to tree farms across the Carolinas. Heather Mims
Stowe Dairy Farms: 169 Stowe Dairy Road, Gastonia. Tree farm opens at 9 a.m. Friday. Hours are e 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, closed Sundays. Leyland cypress, red cedar, Carolina sapphire and white pine fields will be open for choose-and-cut; Fraser firs from the western N.C. mountains and farm-made mixed green wreaths will also be available. Choose-and-cut trees are $25-$30, Fraser firs $38-$58 each. Focusing on heritage, the farm will offer activities, plus products from area farms. Details: 704-228-9826, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out Facebook.
Santa's Forest: 4071 Herter Road, Lincolnton. Leyland cypress, Carolina sapphire and Fraser firs. Noon until dark Sundays to Fridays; 9 a.m.-dark Saturdays. Zip line, farm animals, hayrides, nature trails. www.herternursery.com; 828-428-9350 or 828-428-3774.
Cedar Lake Tree Farm: 5829 N.C. 27, Iron Station, between Stanley and Lincolnton. Virginia pine and Leyland cypress. Also have pre-cut Fraser firs. Open Friday after Thanksgiving through Dec. 20, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays. Map at www.cedarlaketreefarm.com; 704-201-8922; Facebook.
Helms Tree Farm: 6345 Christmas Tree Lane, Vale. White pine, red cedar, Leyland cypress, white and Colorado blue spruce and Carolina sapphire. Pre-cut Fraser fir. All but Fraser fir offered in bag and ball. Covered-wagon rides, wreaths, train rides for kids under 10 and Christmas shop. Open 9 a.m. until dark, Thanksgiving and daily through Dec. 20; 704-276-1835. www.helmschristmastreefarm.com.
Grovestone Christmas Tree Farm: 48051 Clodfelter Road, Albemarle. Virginia pines and some Leyland cypress trees. All sizes $25-$35. Free apple cider. Open Thanksgiving day, 9- 5 Fridays and Saturdays; 1-5 p.m. Sundays, until Dec. 24; 704-983-1685 evenings.
Good Shepherd Christmas Tree Farm. There are 7,500 Fraser Firs ranging 5-11 feet. Refreshments, wreaths and ornaments. Opening Fri-Sun. Next two weekends from 10-4. 2155 Blackberry Road, Boone 28607. 704-607-2300; goodshepherdtrees.com
Taylor's Christmas Tree Farm: Old York Road (S.C. 909), Lowrys. One mile north of Chester County Airport. Virginia and white pines, Leyland cypress, Clemson green spire, Carolina sapphire, pre-cut Fraser firs. Also offer wreaths, greenery. Open Thanksgiving Day until Dec. 24, 3 p.m. until dark weekdays; 10 a.m.-dark Saturdays; 1 p.m.-dark Sundays. 803-581-3507.
Pa-Pa John's Christmas Tree Farm: 6980 Flat Creek Road, Kershaw. Virginia pine, white pine, eastern red cedar, Carolina sapphire, Leyland cypress and Blue Ice. Also carries fresh-cut Fraser fir. Balled and burlap trees: Fraser fir, white pine, Colorado blue spruce, Norway spruce and hemlock. Bailing, tree shaking, stands, and homemade wreaths. Open Thanksgiving Day. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sundays; 803-475-9247. Email: Papajohnschristmastreefarm@yahoo.com.
Penland Christmas Tree Farm: 6457 Campbell Road, York. Virginia and white pine, Carolina sapphire, red cedar and Leyland cypress, Christmas mint cypress. Also carry pre-cut Fraser firs. Hayrides, wreaths, giftshop and hot chocolate. Open day after Thanksgiving. Hours: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays; 1-5:30 p.m. Sundays; 803-366-7605. www.penlandtreefarm.com.