The weekend after Thanksgiving, we adventured to Tannenbaum Farms to cut down Christmas trees to celebrate the season. This adventure is a tradition in our family and one of the things I look forward to every year. Garrin went with his family while growing up and I was lucky enough to have him share this experience with me for the first time back when we were dating in 1997. In California, we tried to recreate the experience  without much success so I was excited upon our return to Michigan to continue this tradition once again.

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This is a rather big family event for us and usually the majority of my father in law’s family attend to all select our trees. This year, I had a sick sister in law who was unable to attend as well as timing did not work out with my other sister in law’s family so we were a smaller group of five. For the first time in many years, my father in law and step mother in law decided to purchase a real tree which was exciting. Garrin and I usually have two Christmas trees in our home and also happened to retire our artificial tree this year so we were in the market to select not one but two trees!

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Upon arrival, we first checked out the gift shop to determine the goodies we would purchase before departure. The gift shop is welcoming with a fireplace for warmth, a counter serving cookies and hot beverages, beautiful decorated trees with ornaments and other holiday decor fill the space which are available to purchase to bring home. Santa is often visiting and kids may sit on his lap telling him their Christmas wishes and families are able to take photos.

I usually buy at least one ornament in the quaint gift shop and this time was no exception.

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I found the above gorgeous ornament which fits perfectly with the theme of the main tree in the living room. It was a huge bargain too for only $3.00.

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It was a busy day the tree farm so we all waited in line to catch a free wagon ride to transport us to the field. When you are dropped off, there is a concession stand with delicious hot chocolate, donuts, coffee, hotdogs and other yummy treats.

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It never fails to be a chilly day when we visit, though at least it was not snowing this year. I recommend wearing layers, scarf, hat, gloves and boots. There is a Bonfire where you may sit and enjoy some hot chocolate to warm yourself before adventuring out further to tree hunt.

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Tannenbaum offers tree carts to carry your tree though these were in high demand this day.

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There are also free saws to use though the blade is often dull so we always mean to bring our own but forget every year.

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We had fun selecting two trees this year with our favorite type, the Fraser Fir. Both trees are beautiful and unique though it never fails that they are so much larger in the house!

GLB_201512100156_4943Fraser Firs are known for there soft short needles that feature excellent retention and remain fresh for extended periods. For these reasons, it is one of the most popular Christmas trees. Tannenbaum also showcases Blue Spruce, White Pine, Scotch Pine and Concolor Firs.

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Next year I am hoping to try out two different types of trees and see if I may find a new favorite. I am intrigued by the Concolor Fir which I first learned about when visiting Howard Tree Farm this fall.

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Tannenbaum Farms is located at 2515 Sandhill Road in Mason, MI and is open for business through from November 21st through Christmas Eve this year. Business hours are 9:00 am until dark on weekends, and from 12:30 pm until dark on weekdays. The farm is owned by Dr. Mel and Laurie Koelling. Dr. Koelling taught and served in the Department of Forestry at Michigan State University for over 35 years and is an expert in his field. The farm was originally purchased in 1977 to expand Dr. Koelling’s interests but also create a college fund for his children.

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In 1978, the first planting of trees covered only three acres.  Today the 160 acre farm feature plantings that cover approximately 100 acres of the land. When I had the pleasure to visit Howard Tree Farm, I learned that Katie and Ben have also been mentored by Mel Koelling. This shows what a wonderful sense of community the small towns in Michigan support and part of why I love the mitten state.

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Before leaving Tannenbaum, our trees went on the shaker to eliminate loose needles and were baled for transport. We then paid and loaded them in our vehicle. The trees range in price though the 7-8 foot Frasers averaged $50-75 depending on size.

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Next year, I hope to bring you adventures of selecting two different types of trees for Christmas while visiting multiple tree farms. However, I can’t wait to go back to Tannenbaum Farms and I know it will continue to be a special family tradition to celebrate the Holidays.

 

 

 

About Liz Ball

Liz Ball is a freelance writer focusing on Michigan travel and local events in her community.