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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

December 1, 2016
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

This past weekend was a great beginning to the holiday season. Children and their parents came to the Pizza Ranch to see Santa Claus. It was a wonderful morning - parents visited while kids ate a little breakfast pizza and waited in line to visit with Santa.

We aren't sure how many years we have been teaming up with Pizza Ranch to present this event, but I do have a notebook outlining the last ten years. It sure is fun.

Saturday was a great day to be outdoors. I took advantage of the mild-ish day to get some outdoor decorations out. While outdoors, I saw several SUVs on the road with Christmas trees strapped on top.

As I have written many times before, when we had a real tree at our house we cut it at an Iowa tree farm. There were a couple within less than half-hour drive, and a few times we made a couple of hour drive to get the perfect tree.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey encourages Iowans to consider choosing a fresh, Iowa grown Christmas tree to decorate. I agree.

"Selecting a fresh Christmas tree can be part of a great family tradition and is an opportunity to connect with an Iowa farmer and support the local economy," Northey said. "Iowa is fortunate to have more than 100 Christmas tree farms in all parts of the state, so everyone has the opportunity to get their own fresh tree to help celebrate."

Perhaps we had never asked, but did you know it takes 6 to 12 years to grow a Christmas tree before it is ready to be sold. Most tree farms in Iowa are 3 to 8 acres in size and sell trees by choose and harvest method, where a customer comes to the farm and cut their own tree, Northey reports.

That's what we did. We drove to the tree farm, walked through the rows and rows of trees until we found the perfect tree. The debate was - who wanted to (had to) lay down on the snow to cut the tree! Thank goodness for blankets.

Here are some tips from Mr. Northey:

Be sure you know what size tree fits in your home, both height and width, before you leave. Trees always look smaller in the field.

Wear comfortable clothes, sturdy shoes, and gloves that you aren't afraid to get dirty.

Make sure the tree you pick has a straight trunk and will fit properly in your tree stand.

Fresh trees need water. Once you get your tree home remember to check the water daily. Trees can use up to a gallon of water daily.

Make sure you unplug any tree lights before you leave home or go to bed.

Remember - fresh cut Christmas trees are biodegradable! Recycle your tree after Christmas.

A directory of tree farms across Iowa is available on the Iowa Christmas Tree Association website at www.IowaChristmasTrees.com. On the site there is a "Find a Farm" link on the top left-hand corner of the page. Besides the location of the farms, the directory also includes a phone number and hours of operation for each farm to assist in planning.

Let's get out and get decorating. What fun it is to drive around town and see the many bright Christmas lights inside and out.

 
 
 

 

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