What is Christmas without the center of it all- the glorious tree? With so much attention put on the main attraction, the real versus artificial debate comes up every year. As much as I love the idea of a fake tree, with it's perfectly symmetrical shape and easy maintenance, there really is no debate in my opinion. For me, it comes down to tradition and that includes a real tree. I love the look of a real tree and it's wonderful aroma, but mostly it's the experience of finding the tree that is my favourite part. As a child, my parents bundled us 3 kids up every year to go cut down our own tree. I will never forget those days. The excitement of choosing the "perfect" tree, my dad lying on the cold ground, sawing away, the whirring sound as the tree baler spun. And of course now that I'm a parent, I hope to create those same wonderful memories with my own children.
Feeling homesick after an uneventful Thanksgiving holiday last year, a google search brought me to the website of the Glenealy Christmas Tree Farm. If you haven't yet picked up your tree this year, then I suggest you carve out some time this weekend to take the quick drive to GCTF for a special experience. Located in Wicklow, this family owned and operated business specializes in Noble and Nordman Firs, and offers a variety of other choices. But it isn't just their selection of trees that makes this place so great, it's the family friendly atmosphere and holiday cheer just radiating from the moment you enter. There are twinkly lights down the driveway. The sounds of Christmas classics being played on the grand piano. Santa even left his red sleigh parked in the shed for a handy little photo opportunity too. Owners and brothers Dave and James are there to help you chop and wrap the tree, assist with the rope tying, or entertain you with their Irish humour. The lads genuinely seem to love what they're doing, but sure, who couldn't love being such a magical part of the Christmas experience? With 6 acres of land to roam, the hardest part of selecting is remembering where that other tree you thought you wanted is located.
|So many trees to choose from|
|O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!|
|Waiting in the sleigh, enjoying a sweet while the tree is netted|
Once you've made your final choice, if you're keen to handle an axe, by all means, chop away. If you prefer to keep all your fingers in tact, simply flag down one of the employees. They will cut the tree and even help you transport it to the shed where each tree is wrapped for takeaway. My insider tip to you- wear your wellies as the ground is quite mucky from this rainy season we've had. And thanks to the 3 sheep on site that mind the grass and weeds, there's a fair amount of their droppings you would want to avoid stepping in with your fancy runners.
|Feeding the sheep last year|
Here are the two trees we hand selected from Glenealy Christmas Tree Farm, in 2014 and 2015. I love them both and all the charming imperfections that come with a real tree- particularly the unevenly spaced branches and the new ladybug neighbors that have taken up residence in my living room.
|Xmas Eve, 2014|
GCTF hours of operation as found on their website:
Tues 1st December through Sunday 20th of December
- 10am - 6pm; Mon - Thur
- 10am - 7pm: Fridays
- 9am - 7pm: Sat & Sun
Be sure to check out their Facebook page for the most up to date information along with opening times. And please remember to recycle your tree once the holidays are over.
|Decorating is a bit easier with some help|
|Love those chubby little hands handling the ornaments|
|Our Elf on the Shelf, Alfie, loves the tree|