Berkeley Parents Network >
Places to Go >
I checked the archives but everything's at least 3 years
old, so I'm hoping for some 'fresh' recommendations for a
really good Christmas tree farm. It would be great if it was
close-ish to our home (Berkeley), but we're willing to drive
up to an hour in any direction for a really good place.
Since I know we'll be paying more than we would at our local
OSH, I really want it to be special. Specifically, I'm
hoping for a 'Christmas in the country'-type of
atmosphere... it would be nice if we could really feel like
we're away from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area. We'd
also like it to be picturesque (hills?), and friendly folks
running the place would be a bonus, too.
We don't need bouncy houses, Santa Claus, etc. But I
wouldn't rule out a place if it has any of that stuff,
Thanks in advance!
I was in your situation about four years ago. I really love
tree farms, and wanted to find the best one I could. I did
extensive research, and finally found Frosty Mountain Tree
Farm in Sebastepol. I think you'll find it meets most, maybe
all of your criteria (which match mine). It might take
slightly over an hour to get there, but not much, and it's
soooo worth it. Here's what I love about Frosty Mountain:
*Gorgeous, hilly, rural scenery, about 1 hour + 10 minutes
from Oakland/Berkeley. Really, it doesn't get any more
beautiful than this!
*More variety (types of trees) than many other farms
*Old country play structure and farm animals for the kids
(they are very family friendly, of course)
*Extremely friendly, helpful people, plus it's family owned
*Organic (!) coffee/espresso truck (it gets COLD there, and
the coffee is excellent!) including snacks!
*Cool historic barn with tons of unique, lovely, very
reasonably priced Christmas decorations, as well as popcorn,
apple fritters and wreaths.
*Return customers get a 5% discount off their purchases.
The folks at Frosty Mountain are so friendly and warm, we
have been going there every Christmas since: it's our family
tradition. Last year, I found the most beautiful tree I
think I have ever had in my life (I'm a nut for Christmas
trees). I cannot recommend Frosty Mountain highly enough.
They have a terrific, informative web site with pictures and
descriptions of the types of trees they grow there. Check it
out at: http://www.frostymountaintreefarm.com/
Just so you know, the weekend after Thanksgiving is their
busiest. We usually go the weekend after that to avoid the
worst of the crowds.
I hope to see you and your family there this year!
Our family has been going to Castro Valley Christmas Tree
Farm (http://www.cvchristmastreefarm.com/) for the past 5
years or so, after trying a variety of other options. I
really love it - it's on EBMUD watershed land out in the
hills, so very secluded and country-like, definitely no
bouncy houses or fake sleigh rides. The people at the gate
are super friendly but pretty much stay out of your way - it
can feel like you're tramping around in your own private
woods. It's a little pricey, but the tree lasts a long time
and they're sustainably grown (no irrigation, no pesticides,
you leave the stump to re-grow a new tree), so I feel like
it's a good investment and a fun experience. JP
I highly recommend Rancho Siempre Verde about 45 minutes
from San Francisco on highway 1 http://www.rsvtrees.com/.
Yes, it's a bit of a drive -- but SO WORTH IT! The folks are
friendly and the tree price includes help loading it into or
onto your car. Plenty of parking, trees, and marshmallows to
roast on the fire. And bonus, the farm is absolutely
beautiful (no tacky Christmas decorations!) In the Holiday
The tree lot on Reliez Valley Road in the Alhambra Valley
(Martinez) would fit your criteria. It's near the
intersection of Alhambra Valley Road and Reliez Valley Road.
This place is a GREAT family outing! Santa, gift shop, farm
animals, bring your friendly leashed dog too! But keep in
mind Noble, Douglas & Turkish Firs grow in Oregon and are at
the tree farms as pre-cut trees. We've been going to Little
Hills for years and It's only about 45 minutes from
This is a really great place to choose and cut your own Xmas
trees. We have went for the past 4-5 years and the prices
are so much cheaper than the local lots in the Bay Area. One
year we were able to purchase two trees for less than fifty
bucks, It's a little ways out, but a nice ride (great for
family time). Last year there was snow on the way and we
stopped so that our daughter could play for a bit. Place is
run by a great family. Check it out, here is the website:
Hi - looking to take my family on a cut your own christmas tree
expedition. Any recommendations on where to go and what to do
for a fun filled time?
Trying to Establish New Traditions
Hi- We have gone to Garlock Tree Farm for the past 4 years and love
it!! It is a great family tradition! Enjoy!
For the past few years we've gone to Castro Valley Christmas Tree
Farm (http://www.cachristmas.com/alameda.html). It doesn't have all
the sleigh rides and bounce houses and circus atmosphere (search the
rest of that website if that's what you're looking for) -- just a
peaceful forest out in the hills where you can tromp around with the
kids till you find the perfect tree. Sometimes it feels like we
have the whole place to ourselves. It's not too far away, fairly
reasonably priced (or at least comparable to tree lot prices, but so
much fresher), seems to be a family operation, always willing to
give you a few extra branches for wreaths and things.
Rancho Siempre Verde, near the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, south of
Pescadero is a beautiful, family owned Christmas tree farm. They
have tons of swings for kids to try, hay bales, marshmallows,
tractors, you can picnic - it's really a paradise. You can hang out
there or go visit Santa Cruz, the lighthouse, or Ano Nuevo as part
of your trip. I've been at Rancho Siempre Verde with kids ranging
from 1 1/2 to 12 and none of them wanted to leave. The farm's
website is: http://www.rsvtrees.com/
love the farm
What a great new family tradition you are starting! The highlight
of my childhood was going to a farm and cutting down the tree. We
always went to Crest Ranch in the Santa Cruz mountains. We got up
early, made Kahlua and coffee, and ran around the many acres of
trees. Bring an extra scarf as a marker for a tree you like while
you check others out. They provide a cart and saw and have
reasonable prices. They also sell hot dogs and cider, have a
playground, and a cute chicken coop. It may be a bit of a drive from
the EBay but it's worth it.
There is a Christmas Tree Farm in Half Moon Bay. We just went there
to cut our tree there. There was santa to take a picture with,
train ride (small, but fun for kids), and small shop. Different
variety of trees. I can't remember the name of the place but you
might be able to find on line.
I am looking for a Christmas Tree farm that is not too long of a
drive from the East Bay (maximum 1 hour). I looked through the
archives and only saw a listing for something in Dixon but I
wonder if anyone else has any favorites?
Years ago, a co-worker told me about the tree farm her family
always visited, where they got beautiful, large trees for
ridiculously low prices. I think it was in northern Sonoma
County, but that's all I can recall. In those days, I had more
money than time to spend on the holidays, but this year the
picture is different -- and I'm sure my preschooler would enjoy
making more of an event out of going to get the tree.
So, does anyone know of a place that might be the one? Or any
other place that fits the same description? I don't mind a
drive of 2-3 hours from Berkeley, but closer would be fabulous
too. We're partial to Noble firs but would consider similar
Last year, we went to one of the many farms in western Sonoma
County. It's probably an hour to an hour and a half drive from
Berkeley. Check out http://www.cachristmas.com/sonoma.html for a
list of the farms there. I think we went to Christensen's
Christmas Tree farm, but it might have been the Davis Christmas
Tree Farm. Anyway, it was a really nice experience, and we'll do
it again this year. The staff was all warm and friendly. They had
some farm animals. The man let my 3-year-old daughter ''help'' get
the tree up on the car, and she had a ball.
You won't get a ''deal'' on a tree, but I didn't mind paying a bit
extra (it's actually not any more than tree lot but more than
Costco or Home Depot--I think the 6 ft. noble we bought was about
$56) to support a local farm and have a good time. They do have
Noble Firs cut, although they don't grow them there. The web page
will list what trees are grown at a place and which are cut. No
one seems to grow nobles in this area. Maybe it's too warm.
Try www.cachristmas.com - California Christmas Tree
Association. We've used 4 C's Christmas Trees in Half Moon Bay
(650) 726-4383 for the past 4 years. We left our house in
Oakland at 1:30 and were home by 4:00pm on Sunday with our
beautiful Noble Fir Christmas Tree!
We just bought our tree at the Alhambra Valley Tree Farm. Technically it is in Martinez, but it is probably closer to
downtown Pleasant Hill. The drive was less than 30 minutes from
Berkeley (we took 80 and then 4). Cut-your-own-trees were 45.00
(they also have pre-cut tress). We had fun and I definitely
recommend the place. For location:
We've been to a farm in Castro Valley a few times. It wasn't fancy, but it sure was
There are a lot of christmas tree farms up here in Petaluma. We
just moved up here from Berkeley and this is our first Christmas
in a house that is big enough for a big tree so we've been
scouting out the farms and getting long time residents opinions
on who's got the best of everything.
Here's what we've learned:
Larsen's Tree Farm has 2 locations, beautiful vistas, great trees
and quite possibly the steepest prices going.
Wolf's tree farm has got great trees and reasonable prices
Pronzini's is NOT a choose and cut farm operation although they
are local farmers...they just have the standard retail cut tree
location at the Petaluma Fairgrounds...probably much fresher than
most places in Berkeley (since the actual farm is just a few
miles away) but the experience of the farm is just not in the
parking lot at the Petlauma Fairgounds!
Little Hills has great trees and excellent prices. We just saw a
humungous beautifully shaped tree in a local restaurant here and
the owner said that Little Hills has the best trees(she grew up
here in Petaluma) and that she paid only 75 bucks for her 12 ft
So here's the info for all of the above:
LARSEN CHRISMAS TREE FARM
Features: 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 12, 16 (see key below)
(707) 762- 6317 or (707) 778- 1716
Bob Larsen, Kriss Mungle
391 Marshall Ave. (Res.), Petaluma, 2043 Magnolia
Directions: From Hwy. 101 take Petaluma Blvd. south to Magnolia
or Petaluma Blvd North to Skillman and follow signs
Open: Day after Thanksgiving, 10-5 weekdays, 9-5 weekends
Monterey Pine, Sierra Redwood, Leyland Cypress
Fresh cut: Noble Fir and Douglas Fir All kept in water.
WOLF'S CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
Features: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16
241 Liberty Road, Petaluma, CA 94952
Open: Friday, Saturday and Sunday beginning the day after
from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Choose and Cut: Douglas Fir, Monterey Pine, and Sierra Redwood
Fresh-cut: Noble Fir, Douglas Fir
All fresh cut trees are kept in water
LITTLE HILLS CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
Features:1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
FAX and Office: (707) 778-1716
Kriss & Carol Mungle
Web site: www.littlehillsfarm.com
961 Chapman Lane., Petaluma
Directions: Take Petaluma Blvd. south or north from Hwy. 101 to
Western Ave. in downtown Petaluma. Follow Western Ave. 1.4 miles
to Chapman Ln.
Open: Day after Thanksgiving,
Mon., Wed - Fri. 10:00 am to 6:00 pm; Weekends 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monterey Pine, Sierra Redwood, Leyland Cypress
Fresh-cut: Noble Fir, and Douglas Fir All kept in water
1 - Trees over 10 ft. available
2 - Wreaths/garlands for sale
3 - Flocking available
4 - Picnic area
5 - Hay/wagon/tractor rides
6 - Santa Claus on weekends
7 - Free candy canes
8 - Reserving trees
9 - Free coffee
10 - Maps/brochuresavailable to callers
11 - Free garlands/boughs
12 - Freshly cut trees of other species available
13 - Christmas gift shop
14 - School tours available by reservation
15- Apple cider/refresments
16 - Flame retarding available
Please doublecheck directions on mapquest or the like
Little Hills is the easiest to find.
Check out: http://www.farmtrails.org/index.html. you can get
a list of tree farms located in Sonoma County at this site. there are plenty that have additional activities in addition to
cutting your own tree to make the hour drive more worthwhile.
We go to the Xmas tree farm off of Redwood Road in Castro
Valley. They have Douglas firs in all sizes. They provide the
saws and will help you tie in on your car too.
Try Alhambra Valley Tree Farms
Phone: (925) 372-6176
FAX: (925) 229-3447
Trees are located in Martinez, CA, Corner of Alhambra Valley Rd
and Reliez Valley Rd.
Directions: Alhambra Valley 4 miles south of Hwy 4 in Martinez.
South 1/4 mile on Alhambra Ave. from Hwy 4 to Alhambra Valley Rd.
Alhambra Vly Rd. to intersection with Reliez Vly Rd.
Open: Saturday after Thanksgiving Day
Hours: Mon - 8 am to 5 pm, Tues - Sat - 8 am to 8 pm, Sun 8 am to
Tree Varieties: Choose and Cut: Monterey Pine, Scotch Pine and Cedar
Pre-cut trees: Noble Fir, and Douglas Fir
Check out this site:
http://www.cachristmas.com/RetailLotMenu.html for other CA locations
Christmas Tree lover
There are a bunch of tree farms in the Santa Cruz mountains. The ones we've been to are up Bear Creek Road off of highway 17
at the Lexington Reservoir.
Also, there used to be some tree farms out in/near Livermore. And there are some up in Sonoma County, for example off of
Highway 116 near Sebastopol.
Alhambra Valley Tree Farm. We have been getting our tree from
this local farm for many years. It's located in Martinez. You
can cut your own tree or choose a pre-cut tree. Here is a
website with their location and hours of operation.
We just went to Santa's tree farm (out Highway 92 towards half
moon bay) and it was great! They even had a free train ride with
Santa Claus for the kids. They have a 2$off coupon on their
website. The pine trees were $27 and the fir trees were $37.
They also ''netted'' the tree for an extra $2. You should try to
get there early - by the time we left at 11:30 it was getting
If you drive down Skyline Boulevard on the Peninsula, you will
drive past several Christmas tree farms. Start just south of
San Mateo and head on south. It's a beautiful drive and a lot of
fun to cut down your own -- they give you the tools. We make a
day of it, get a tree, head out to the coast and have lunch, and
then home to decorate. Some folks bring picnic lunches,
champagne, or cocoa and have tailgate parties on the farms. There are several sterile looking places -- all the trees lined
up in neat rows -- but if you keep driving, the road gets
narrower and a little curvier and then you'll see tree farms
that look just like the woods, with dirt roads that meander
around. It's one price for any sized tree and you can take
loads of extra branches and fronds to decorate with at no
charge. And this is very PC, if that's an issue for you. New growth
comes up where you cut the tree and becomes next year's trees.
We really want to have a tree this Christmas, but we don't want
to cut down a tree. What are the alternatives? We live in an
apartment, so buying a tree to plant in our yard is not an
option. We heard that SF had a ''tree loaner'' program last
year, where families kept the tree in their home for the holiday.
After the holiday, the city came by, picked it up, and planted it
in a city park. Does anyone know of similar programs? Or, how
else can we have a sustainable Christmas tree? We live in El
I have gotten a small live tree, then put it on craigslist for
free -- with the stiuplation that the person who takes it plants
it and doesn't sell it.
Also, last year I bought a Christmas bush by mistake -- but it's
doing just great on the balcony of my little apartment.
OK, You probably aren't interested in this, and it's probably way
too obvious, but please go ahead and consider an artificial tree.
I resisted the idea for years out of some romantic notion, but
two years ago my husband talked me into it, and you know what?
it's really great. The tree actually looks pretty realistic, it
doesn't shed needles, we don't have to worry about spilling yucky
water all over our carpet (or electrocuting ourselves), it saves
money (we even got it for 1/2 off a couple days before
Christmas), not too big in storage, and--get this--ours comes
with lights already strung on it! What's not to love?
Alternatively, if the idea of an artificial tree is repugnant,
you can try total kitsch: my mother has the goofiest looking
fiber-optic lights tree that bears little resemblance to the real
thing, and it's hilarious. Another friend of mine has a very
tasteful, miniature, artificial redwood tree. I would have bought
that one if I ever saw it around. Keep in mind a potential
downside of live trees, which is that if you aren't looking very,
very carefully, those slugs and pincher bugs that were comfy in
your tree pot when it was outside will be crawling across your
living room floor. My second year with my ''eco-friendly'' living
tree, I hauled it into the living room, dusted it off, and
honestly, it looked like crap, didn't really provide much of the
''christmasy'' smell (which you can also get with a wreath or
cuttings, of course), and the next couple of mornings I nearly
puked when I saw those silvery trails across my carpet. I
couldn't even find all the buggers.
As a landscaper, I know that, as wonderful as the concept of
growing rather than cutting down a holiday tree may be, the
naturally large conifers sold as living Christmas trees have no
place in the standard sized urban yard- I've had to remove many
over the years for clients when the tree began to show it's
natural size, & that can get quite expensive as well as spoiling
the whole original idea!
If you want a realistically sized living holiday tree, I'd
suggest you buy a dwarf conifer from a nursery that won't get
large even when mature, so that it can happily remain a container
plant for many years or be planted in a garden without eventually
taking it over. If you don't like the plastic nursery container,
you can ask the nursery to pot it up into an ornamental one for you.
There are some really beautiful dwarf conifers in this category
to choose from & there's a list of some of them in the brand new
(2007) edition of Sunset Western Garden Book. Some of them are
upright, some upright and weeping, and some are more like bushes.
Or, if you can get into the idea of going for something unique
and non-traditional, there's no reason why your holiday tree
needs to be either a conifer or even a tree- there are many
shrubs that are quite beautiful in the nursery can and can
actually be realistically planted in the average size garden.
Buying a nursery tree, especially a dwarf conifer, is going to be
more expensive than buying a living tree from a lot, but it will
accomplish your goal of not killing a tree instead of just giving
you the delusion that you aren't.
Visit this website (tends to be pretty entertaining and sometimes
enlightening) and scroll down to the Dec. 1 entry to read what
Danny Seo, whose specialty is ''green lifestyle,'' has to say about
live versus fake Christmas trees: www.dannyseo.typepad.com
Does anyone have any advice about how to have a Christmas tree in
the house with a 13 month old? Our older child (and us!) would
be sorely disappointed not to have a real tree again this year,
but we can't figure out how to have a tree safely with our 13
month old. She understands 'no' but ignores it much of the time,
so we can't count on her not to touch the tree or pull on it.
She also likes to put hair in her mouth, so we are concerned
she'll put pine/fir needles in her mouth and eat them no matter
how vigilant we are. We have a small house configured such that
there's no place to put the tree in a corner blocked off by a
baby gate, house is too small to block off one room entirely to
the baby for that long, and we can't afford the $$$ it would cost
to buy free-standing gates to surround the tree. We do not want
an artificial tree. What do we do, hang it from the ceiling?
Seriously, if anyone came up with creative ideas for their own
babies we'd really love to hear.
O Christmas Tree
I had friends in Hawai'i who did hang their tree from the ceiling
every year--so unique and beautiful. But if you want it on the
ground, what about a live tree in a sturdy pot? That would be
much heavier and harder to knock over. We did that last year when
our daughter was a bit younger than yours and plan to do that
again. The hard part is the transplant if you don't have a yard...
Best wishes celebrating Christmas with a tree!
Christmas Tree Lover too
We got a little tree--about 2-3 feet tall, and perched it on a table
that was high
enough that the kids couldn't reach it. It gave us the smell of a xmas
tree, but our
little ones were hands off!
We used a free-standing baby gate around our tree and it worked
great - have you looked into borrowing one from someone? Try
posting something to the Marketplace. Failing that, I would,
just for this Christmas, get a small tree that can sit on a table
and decorate the heck out of it, reassuring your older child that
next year you'll be back to the big tree.
We are facing the exact same dilemma this year. We have a 14
month old boy who is into everything and would very likely pull
over any Christmas tree he could get his little hands on. Still
we can't imagine the holidays without a tree, and neither can
our 5 year old, so we went out and got a little 3 foot tree and
set it up on a card table. My 5 year old has decorated it and
loves it. The 14 month old can admire it from a distance but
can't touch it. Would this possibly work for you?
Have to have a tree
When our youngest was a toddler we bought a small tree and put
it on a table so she couldn't reach it but could see it. It was
one of the prettiest trees we ever had.
During our child's toddler years, we had a table-top Christmas tree
could see up close but could not reach. We strung lights over our
and played a lot of Christmas-y music to create the holiday feel in our
having a huge tree. Trees are nice and all, but there's no law that
requires every family
to have one in their living room at Christmastime. God willing, your
family will enjoy
many more Christmases to come with a big tree in your home. (Not to
too Dr. Phil
on you, but it's OK to adjust your expectations about Christmas this
year, having a
toddler and all...)
When our child was 1 year, we got an approx. 3-4 foot tree and
put it on top of a table that was too tall for her to reach.
For my son's first two Christmases, all the ornaments within arm's
of a toddler were unbreakable (and in fact, the bottom three feet of
tree was pretty bare. We also attached a hook to the ceiling to anchor
the tree in place so that it could not possibly tip over. The tree
withstood a few tugs from baby (not many, it wasn't that interesting
and it was prickly) and also survived being climbed up by my
stepdaughter's new kitten. No one (cat or baby) tried to chew on
the needles. I think even a dedicated hairchewer would find a
Christmas tree rather un-delicious. I had already stopped using
after a notable Christmas dinner when the cat paraded through the
room with tinsel hanging out of his butt (tinsel is apparently quite
tasty to cats).
I would recommend buying a small tree and placing it on a table so that
month old cannot reach the tree. Table top trees can be just as festive
as a full size tree on the floor. They are cheaper too! When our
daughter was that
age we got a small tree and put it on a small round table that was tall
that she couldn't reach the lowest branches. The table was kind of ugly
draped a lovely piece of fabric over it and put the tree on it and
decorated it. It all
worked out just great and the tree was beautiful and out of reach.
Laurey Foulkes firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you buy a small living tree in a pot of soil and put it on a
table? That's what we have done with our son. Some come
already decorated with a few decorations, some ribbons and
lights. After Christmas, you can put it outside in a pot on the
porch or in the yard and then bring in it again next year to
use. It would just be for a couple of years until the little
one is older.
My two cents
We have a 17 month old and a cat, so I understand your concerns.
always preferred a table top tree anyway. This year we've got a 4 ft,
very bushy, perfect
little tree with plenty of branches for our many ornaments. Target has
of 3-5 ft trees for $20. We also got a new, leakproof tabletop tree
stand there for $12.
They also have nice inexpensive live trees including rosemary bushes
trimmed to look
like Christmas trees in 3 different sizes. We got a little one for the
tabletop tree lover
With a 3-yr old and an 18 month old, we just did it and it's a
bit of a battle but the novelty does wear off. We buy a short
tree and put it on a table and put non breakable ornaments
loosely (no hooks) on the bottom to let them pull stuff off.
We've never had them try and eat the pine needles so I don't know
about that. But, the battle of the tots and the tree is part of
We are going to get a small live tree, cover it with lights and
as many decorations as it can hold and put it on a table - out
of the reach of our 11 month old. After Christmas it will get
planted in our yard.
We too have a very spirited, into absolutely everything 13 mo
old daughter and live in a very small house. We decided to get
a small table top tree (approx. 3 ft) and put it on a table in
a corner fenced off by our couch and another large comfy chair
(the two come together at their arms) and will keep the table
w/tree tucked into the corner. We have no idea how she will
respond, but as most things, it will probably be novel for a
short time, then loose her interest and she will be onto
something different. Since we weren't able to have much of a
Xmas holiday last year (because of her being so small), we want
to give it a try. Good luck to you....
Could you try a table top tree? One that was short enough to fit on a
table out of your
baby's reach, but not hit the ceiling?
When my daughter was about the same age, we opted for a smaller
tree placed on a table/cabinet that was just about as tall as she
was. We had a Christmas-themed cloth over the table. To us it
had a similar effect to a tall tree on the floor, and it kept
needles & ornaments out of her busy hands.
We have the same problem with our toddler. This year, we bought
a tiny little living tree from Target - it's only a couple feet
high. We are keeping it on our kitchen counter. It's a bit of a
pain having it there but I really wanted a tree. We'll be able to
put a few decorations on it.
A tiny tree is better than no tree!
When our son (now 20) was 18 months old, we put a small (about 4 feet
tall) tree on
top of a childs' table inside of a playpen. That worked pretty well.
Most of the gifts
went into the playpen under the table by dropping one side of the
playpen. We liked
the set-up so well, we still put a smaller tree on top of the little
table (without the
playpen). It gives the appearance of a tall tree, but leaves plenty of
This was such a great age - get a green tree - let you 13 month
old chomp away - it's okay.
No lights or tinsel.
For decorations cut out paper shapes. Use paper loops glued with
Elmers school glue to put them on the tree. If they get eaten,
it's no big deal. The paper shapes will be fun for your older
child. You can even flip through magazines and cut out pictures
of dogs, or toys and glue them on to the shapes - once again
using Elmers school glue.
The tree will be beautiful and you will have spent a great
weekend and almost no money.
Chose mostly Stars and Diamond Shapes
We have a similar situation and have opted this year to get a smaller
tree and put in on
a table. My older toddler was fine with this. When I mentioned that
the tree was a bit
small she said, ''No it isn't! We have a REALLY big tree!''
We have a smaller tree that can be set on a small table, out of
the reach of little hands. Gifts can be arranged on the table
around the tree.
When my daughter was around that age, we bought a small tree and
put it up on a table. We put non-breakable/non-valuable
ornaments towards the bottom. It worked great, and it still
looked beautiful. We were able to enjoy the festive decor and
delicious tree smell!
happy with a small tree for one year
My very active son was 13 months old too his second Christmas.
We had a tree and although he did pull on the tree it wasn't a
problem and he didn't get hurt. What we did is tie a string
around the trunk on the top third of the tree and tied one
piece to a hook in the wall and the other to a window lock
(anything sturdy would do) so it wouldn't tip over. We didn't
do lights, and only put on non-breakable ornaments. Of course
saying no all the time to your daughter isn't going to work,
she isn't developmental ready for that. So just make the tree a
safer so that it's ok if she pulls on it. It's pokey anyway so
it's not that fun to play with and the novelty will quickly
As for the pine needles, I'm postive once your daughter puts
some in her mounth she won't do it again. They won't feel nor
Other folks I know just get a small one and have it on a table.
Here's my favorite solution.
Get a tree.
Find a stud in the ceiling near where the tree shall stand in all
Drill a hole and put in an eyehook. Run a line around a nice
thick branch at the top of the tree and then run the line through
the eye hook and tie it up. Hurray! Neither mischievious elves,
fat fat cats, nor dogs chasing said fat fat cats can pull down yr
tree down now.
As for ornaments...
Hang your favorite precious ornaments elsewhere (curtain rods, on
tree branches attached to the wall etc.).
Decorate your tree with stuff that is OK for playing like pine
cones, popcorn, and (my husband's brilliant idea) the kids own
toys with a ornament hook glued to them (a glue gun works great).
The ubiquitous plastic animals look really cool on the tree.
Ho Ho HO
I was thinking about the same thing, as my baby is just starting to
and likes to
grab and eat everything. I grew up with younger siblings, and I think
my mom put
the christmas tree up on something like a coffee table so that it would
be just out of
reach. That's also a good technique for making a smallish tree look
more room for presents!) Here's what I'll probably try: put the tree
on a coffee
table PLUS put a baby gate/fence thing around it. With the tree on the
table, it won't
be completely hidden by the gate. I might even drape a red tablecloth
over the baby
gate when company comes over, or remove baby gate and watch like a hawk
photo ops and company.
Well, it seems that Christmas trees are some of the most highly sprayed, toxic
plants you can put into your house... sigh. Anyone know of any Organic Christmas
tree farms nearby? I'm sure all the trees have to be sprayed with some kind of
chemical fire retardant. A friend went with a fake tree b/c of this--I'm not ready
to give up on real trees (and the fakes are pricey!) if we don't have to! BUT if
you can recommend a convincing fake tree, I'll take that too. Thanks! Eileen
Though I can't say that they're organic, the UC Forestry Club has
an annual Christmas tree sale at Mulford Hall on the UC campus
(near the West Circle off of Oxford St.). The trees are from
undergrowth on private forestry land in the Sierra, and so do not
have the intensive management seen in Christmas tree farms. It is
unlikley that these trees were ever directly managed.
By purchasing one of these trees, you are not only helping the
students in the Forestry Club, you are helping to reduce fuel on
The only OG trees that are certified that I know of are really small. 2gal to be
precise about 16 inches max. They are at Whole Foods Berkeley in the front of the
this is the only one i know of in the bay area -
it is near los gatos. jennifer
i didn,t read the original posted message asking for organic christmastree but i
want to put my two cents in when it comes to christmastrees...
maybe you can consider buying a fake tree that will last you a lifetime that will
safe a lots of trees ....you know it,s so funny i have encountered many
environmentally aware people here in the bay area and still they have real trees
for christmas...i wonder if they ever think about all those trees..i myself am
not a treehugger or so but i grew up having a fake tree for christmas and it does
not spoil any christmasspirit...it was always an event to help papa put up the
tree and then to decorate it..i even convinced my husband to have a fake tree and
there is definetely enough christmas spirit in our house...
then there is a story for children which i strongly remember from my childhood
that i can tell to whoever is interested that gets you thinking about the life
tree....my sister-in-law and her husband got so touched by it...they ended up
buying a life tree in a pot which was more expensive but they planted it after
christmas and it,s still alive
give it a thought
Christmas trees are farmed, like corn -- not cut from wild forests. They are a
renewable resource, and recyclable to boot! Many are grown on local family farms,
and are not chemically treated. I say this to encourage ''tree-huggers'' to have a real
tree rather than a bunch of plastic made in China under appalling environmental
Does anyone know of a good place to go and cut your own Christmas tree? I
am sick of paying the Boy Scouts $80+ for dried-out trees that hardly last
a week ... and I don't mind if it's a bit of a drive as long as there are
nice trees at the end of it.
Regarding the Christmas tree search, UC Berkeley's Forestry Club has
trees for sale this week (Dec. 3-7) between 10 and 5 outside of Mulford
Hall on campus - near the West gate at the end of University Ave. They
are relatively cheap, $5 per foot, primarily fir but some incense-cedar.
The trees were cut (by the students) on Sat. Dec. 1, so they are quite
fresh, and you would be supporting a student group that uses the money
from the sales to send students to a national conference in the fall.
I love the Silveyville Tree Farm in Dixon. It is a bit of a drive from
Berkeley (about 45-55 minutes) but it is well worth it!
http://www.cachristmas.com/SilveyVilleHmPage.html. It is a nice family-run
farm with cider and sleigh rides!
We are considering buying a fake Christmas tree for this coming
season. I checked out the ones at Costco last year and liked
them except that the realistic looking needles were only on the
outside of the branches and the inner parts looked rather cheesy.
Is this the standard ? Is there anything better out there ? We
are willing to pay extra if the quality is good. Thanks for any
- ho, ho, ho
There is a store in Dublin, CA: Pool Patio and More (on Dublin Blvd)
that has a very nice selection of high end artificial Christmas trees.
Some of them look very real:) Check it out. I got mine there last
year and am very pleased.
We're considering buying an artificial Christmas tree this
year. The fire danger of fresh Christmas trees - not to
mention the gross waste of the whole thing - has us thinking
artificial is the way to go.
But I love Christmas trees so I'm a bit wistful about the
decision. I'm worried that an artificial tree will look
cheesy. Can anyone recommend a place that sells really high-
quality artificial trees? I don't mind spending a chunk of
change on it, as I know it will eventually save us money not to
buy fresh trees year after year.
You don't have to spend a lot of money! We got an artificial tree
several years ago for some of the same reasons you mentioned --
it just started to make us sick to throw out a dead tree every
year. (We have relatives who buy a live tree in a pot every year
and plant it in their yard after Xmas -- they have a veritable
forest now -- but that's not really practical for most of us
urbanites.) We got a great tree from Target and have grown to
really love it. Our family tradition now is to set it up and bend
out all its little wire branches -- you can really ''craft'' some
personality in there! Perky little arms reaching up to the sky
or some years a more spikey aggressive tree.
Nobody has ever realized it's fake and when we
tell folks they are *very* surprised. I think fake trees must've
come a long way. We also usually buy a wreath or bit of pine
swag to hang so we get a whiff of the fabulous ''Christmas smell''.
Of course the other way to go would be with an *obviously* fake
tree, like those beautiful vintage ''aluminum'' trees (they make
cheap new ones now).
I think the key is to have fun with it, create a new tradition
around it, and feel good about your choice to not waste an entire
little tree for a decoration. We really do have great affection
for our little fake tree -- it's practically a family member now!
More expensive isn't always better! We found a tree several years ago at Long's (a
close-out, I think, right before Christmas) that looks quite realistic and is easy to set
up. We like it more than many expensive trees we've seen--so if you see a deal
somewhere, don't assume it's no good.
no fresh-cut smell, though...
We decided to go with artificial trees for the same reasons you
cited. We got ours at Walgreens last year for something like $29
-- not the high-quality tree you're yearning for, but it really
isn't bad. I feel like it's just fine and it's easy to explain to
people that we got it because we didn't want to kill a tree every
year. (Not that guests walk in the door asking for an explanation
or anything, but it makes me feel better).
plastic tree lover
We have an artificial Christmas tree, due to my husband's
asthma and allergies around real trees. It is quite large,
10', and we've had it for around 8 years. This year, when
putting it up, (a lot of work!) the dust it has collected over
the years was very evident. Both my husband and I ended up with
some allergic reactions to the dust. How does one clean a fake
tree? I've searched the web, and have only found ''wipe with a
damp cloth.'' Any suggestions?
Take it outside, and blow it off with a leaf blower or compressed
Have you tried taking the tree outside and hosing it off? I do that occasionally with
my larger indoor plants. The weather has been nice lately, so you can take
advantage of the sunshine drying your tree off before you put it away.
Well, if it's not made of a material such that you can take it outside and hose it
down, I'd suggest taking it outside, putting on a dust mask, a scarf over your hair,
and start by shaking it. Then use a feather duster all through it and then use canned
air. You may have to repeat this process a couple of times. Wear old clothes that you
can take right off afterward so that toss them di! rectly into the wash and not carry
the dust into the house. Or you could wear a disposal painter's suit.
Help! We love Christmas but this year we have a new dog who
chews up toys, shoes and anything else she can get. We always
close doors when we leave so she can't get to the forbidden
items. Where do we put our Christmas tree? I want it in the
living room to enjoy, but fear that the dog will attack it when
we are out of the house. It's not possible to close off the
livnig room or other public rooms in our small Berkeley house
and I'm getting depressed thinking that we won't be able to
The dog is a rescue, a few years old, with no teeth in front
from previous chewing - in other words, we're not going to be
able to break her of the habit. And, we can't leave her
outside (don't want to either) when we're gone. Is it
hopeless? Are our beautiful Christmases a thing of the past?
Christmas-tree lover with lovable but annoying dog
We have a 7 year old Rescue dog who still acts like a puppy and chews everything
up. He literally chewed through our couch and curtains (he hung off them til they
fell and then he ripped them to shreds) and pillows. Yes, he gets plenty of exercise.
He is just insecure and likes to chew. If we were to give him up, I'm sure he'd be put
to sleep since most people wouldn't have the patience. So, when we are out of the
house and don't want to leave him outside in the yard, we put a nylon (nikki brand)
muzzle on him. It's actually one size too big so he can drink and probably chew
things still, but he doesn't since it's probably a psychological thing. We've left it
for about 4-5 hours long, but that's not usual or often (usually 2-3 hours). It's the
only way to keep him from chewing our house and keeping him indoors. You can
get a nikki muzzle from pet food express or any other pet store. I appreciate that
you are willing to keep your dog - if you gave him up, he'd probably be put to sleep.
we love our dog too but he's a pain in the ass
Maybe try surrounding the tree with baby barriers? They're like
freestanding baby gates.
Get a nice big crate and some safe chew toys for him and put
him in it when you leave him unattended. Until he learns not
to eat everything, he's a danger to himself as well as to the
Cmas tree. They do just fine in a crate for several hours as
long as they get plenty of exercise on a regular basis.
I highly recommend you get an ex-pen:
You can put it around the tree or put the tree in a corner and block it off with
one. I put lovely bows or garlands on mine... and the peace of mind is
precious. (This is also good for presents that may contain food.)
I started doing it for my dog but continued as my son was young.
Every year my partner and I have this dilemma over what kind of
tree to get. He is opposed to the waste and environmental toll
of growing ''disposable trees'' for the holidays. I too, don't
like it, but my desire to have a Christmas tree like I remember
is greater than my ethics at this time of year. We have bought
living trees, but as renters, never had a place to plant them
once they got too big. Finally I bought a cheap artifical tree
as a compromise. Now that we have a daughter and she
understands what trees are, I feel weird putting a ''fake tree''
in the house. Any suggestions on how to deal with this
dilemma? Does anyone know of any local tree farms that treat
the land well, rotate their crops, etc? Does anyone have soem
land they'd like a Monterey Pine on once the holidays are over?
Stuck on a Tree in Alameda
We have always bought our trees from Delancy Street Trees in El
Cerrito. Although we respect the enviroment and feel uneasy
about the whole disposable tree thing, like you, I am way into
the wonderful smell of pine in our home that brings so many
great memories and traditions. So we pay a lot more, get a
great tree and help out the Delancy Street Foundation, which
serves underpriviliged/homelss adults and families to get job
training and skills to function on a better level. At least we
feel we are doing good service to humanity.
the following was pasted from www.littlehillsfarm.com/recycle.html
LITTLE HILLS CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
Recycling - Help Cool the Globe
Cut a tree, help stop global warming. How's that again? Isn't
it supposed to be plant a tree, cool the globe? Not when the tree
is a real Christmas tree.
That's because Christmas tree growers nationwide have planted
over one million acres of trees. Most of these trees are planted
on marginal soil not suited for other forestry or agricultural
purposes. Christmas trees are grown on farms and plantations for
the specific purpose of being harvested as Christmas trees.
During their growth cycle they add beauty to the landscape,
shelter for wildlife, and clean the air by absorbing carbon
dioxide laden air and sending out fresh oxygenated air.
Environmental experts point out tree farms fight the greenhouse
effect directly by providing cooling and air conditioning
greenbelts in our hot cities and towns. These tree plantations
would not exist without the demand for real Christmas trees.
CHRISTMAS TREES ARE A RENEWABLE RESOURCE
Christmas trees are a renewable resource. When a Christmas tree
is harvested another tree is planted in its place, continuing the
Christmas trees are also 100% recyclable with the most common
recycled product being garden mulch. Your tree can be recycled by
participating in the county wide Christmas tree recycling program.
Bring a real tree home this Christmas, and feel good about
contributing to a healthy environment.
As for buying a living tree, I'd be interested to know how many
of those living trees really survive. I have heard that the
living trees don't survive below 4000 ft. and most of them die
once they are planted. It seems to me folks are spending a lot
more money for a trees that really are being killed. So, get
yourself a real tree and enjoy. It will be fresh and won't drop
needles for a month!
If you go to a ''cut your own'' Christmas Tree Farm (we did this on the
Penninsula, but not since we've been in Berkeley) you will find signs
saying ''Please do not kill the trees'' -- with instructions on how many
branches must be left for a new tree to grow on the same root. Since the
tree continues to grow, the root system remains and erosion is not a
problem. Presumably the trees receive some supplementary nutrition
and training to keeping them producing. The tree you cut is really just
''harvested'' or pruned off the trunk.
Would this satisfy your dilemma?
I have been facing the same dilemna re: getting a Christmas
tree for the last few years as well. Our solution to this is to
get the ''disposable'' tree but to only buy them from Delancy
Street xmas tree lots. Delancy STreet is an amazing
organization that helps people get back on their feet
(substance abusers, ex-felons, and others in need) and get
their lives together. The Christmas tree lots are a big source
of income for them. So, it doesn't necessarily address the
environmental component specifically but it is a way to help
build a better community. I found this link if you want more
info about them - and no, I don't work for them!
We have had a similar dilemma over the years, and have not had a
traditional tree for several years now. I don't like the
artificial trees, so we have an artsy metal tree that we hang
the ornaments on. At times the kids seem wishful of a regular
tree, but they understand that we have strong feelings about the
wastefulness of all the Christmas trees. I do get a wreath,
which gives us the good smell.
this page was last updated: Jul 7, 2012
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network