By LAURI GROSS
Ask ten people what’s their favorite thing about a fresh Christmas tree and you’ll probably get ten different answers. Some may love the act of choosing a tree. Others favor the fresh scent. Maybe decorating the tree is your favorite thing, or just gazing upon it bursting with piles of presents below. For many, selecting the best tree from a barn, field or lot brings a rush of sweet memories, but for others, it’s all about creating brand-new traditions.
Whatever your reasons for embarking on the hunt, Northeast Ohio offers plenty of options for fulfilling every type of Christmas tree dream.
Chagrin Pet, Garden
and Power Equipment
Solon Road, in Chagrin Falls
Ted Kruse, one of the owners explains that his shop offers Fraser firs because they are the “finest Christmas tree available.” He goes on to says that this species is “sturdy, soft needled, and the longest lasting of any of the firs or pines.” Chagrin Pet, Garden and Power Equipment’s Fraser firs come from the North Carolina mountains and their selections range from small table-top size up to about eight or nine feet. The shop displays the trees for 360-degree viewing. “You can walk all around them and see them from all sides,” says Ted, who adds that his crew is happy to drill a hole in the trunk bottom, wrap the tree in netting and load it onto customers’ cars. While visiting Chagrin Pet, Garden and Power Equipment, also check out their roping, wreaths and other holiday decorations.
The Farms at Pine Tree Barn
Main farm is on Shreve Road, Wooster. Second location on Valley Road in Wooster
The history of the Farms at Pine Tree Barn dates to 1952, when current owner Rita Dush’s father-in-law began planting trees. Rita and her late husband, Roger carried on the farm’s tradition of land stewardship. Today, the farm is home to 75,000 Christmas trees on 150 acres including Fraser fir, Colorado blue spruce, Canaan fir, and white pine. For big trees (up to 16 feet), call ahead to reserve your order. On weekends from Thanksgiving to mid-December, ride the Pine Tree Express Caboose, Little Red Bus, or Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides into the fields to cut your own tree, with the use of a complimentary saw, plus a sled or cart. Then, visit the Pine Tree Barn café for drinks, sandwiches and more while the crew hauls the tree back to the barn where they will shake and bale it for free. Also check out the selection of wreaths, garlands, roping and more.
Florist and Gift Shop
Chillicothe Road, Bainbridge
In any given year, Lowe’s usually offers trees grown in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. Like other area shops, Lowe’s primarily deals with Fraser firs, which Garden Center Manager Chris Bauswein agrees are the longest lasting and very fragrant. “They have the best reputation and have become the most popular in our area,” he says. Trees at Lowe’s start at about three feet and go up to about 18 feet. All but the tallest are displayed to allow customers a full 360-degree look. Lowe’s will bag the tree and load it into or on top of cars or trucks. Chris explains a program that Lowe’s does in cooperation with the Bainbridge Food Pantry. “Customers can get $100 credit toward a tree by having it delivered and set up by Lowe’s in exchange for a monetary or non-perishable food donation to the Food Bank.” He adds, “It’s a very popular program. It’s a nice thing to do and our owners feel strongly about this commitment to the community.” Lowe’s also sells plenty of wreaths, swags, roping and much more, ready to be decorated, or already decorated and bedazzled. Closer to Christmas, Lowe’s shoppers can visit with a real reindeer. Lowes will include details in emails to customers, and on their website.
Wintergreen Tree Farm
Winchell Road, Mantua
Grab a saw from the Wintergreen Tree Farm crew and head off to the fields to cut your own white pine, spruce, or fir, and then check out their hand-made wreaths and other greenery for décor. Note that Wintergreen accepts only cash and checks. Bob Stehle, owner, points out that nearly every artificial Christmas tree is manufactured in another country while locally grown trees are 100-percent American. “Real trees,” he says, “are more environmentally friendly than fake trees: Real trees break down and disintegrate when they are discarded while artificial trees do not. When a real tree is cut down, more trees are planted to replace it. Fields of trees support wildlife that developed or farmed land could not sustain.” When deciding which type of tree to choose, Bob notes that while some people prefer the softer needles of a fir or pine, a prickly blue spruce will likely dissuade pets from wreaking havoc. After choosing and cutting your tree, the Wintergreen team will wrap your selection in netting, and help you secure it to your vehicle.
Breezewood Gardens and Gifts
Chillicothe Road, in Bainbridge
The majority of trees at Breezewood are Fraser firs from North Carolina, plus some Canaan firs from central and southern Ohio. David Kay, one of the owners says, “Our trees are longstanding favorites primarily because they smell nice, they hold their needles the longest, they are not prickly, and their strong branches allow you to hang ornaments without them falling off.”
Breezewood offers trees from table-top size up to about 16 feet tall. The trees are displayed outdoors and David says, “With our new structure, we can keep a lot of them under cover.” To help shoppers navigate the hundreds of trees, the Breezewood crew tags every tree with its own name. Some trees get regular human names and others might receive a more creative moniker. “Some people might say they can’t buy a certain tree because it’s named for their ex,” David laughs. Breezewood also offers set-up and delivery in customer’s homes. “We bring the tree to the house. We fresh cut it in the driveway. We put it on the stand. We put water in the stand. When we leave, all you have to do is keep the stand full of water (and decorate),” David explains. Indoors, Breezewood becomes a Christmas wonderland at this time of year, bursting with artificial and fresh wreaths, custom florals and a forest of elaborately decorated trees. On weekends, they add a crackling fire and a hot cocoa bar. David advises shoppers to come early. “Even if you are not taking it home right away,” he says, “supply is less than demand. We can hold onto it until you’re ready to take it