If you’re after the full nostalgic experience, then tradition and memories await when cutting down a tree with loved ones.
Evergreen Lane. Windswept Tree Farm. Sounds like a magical winter wonderland, don’t you think? It just so happens to be located in Sherman, Connecticut!
Last Sunday afternoon, our family excursion began to “find the most perfect Christmas tree ever.” My husband, son and I say this to each other every year, just like my father used to say to me and my family in years past. Especially for our young son, the anticipation of waiting to hear the words “let’s go to Windswept Tree Farm to cut down our Christmas tree” is one of the biggest highlights of the holiday.
Driving up the narrow, one lane road lined with evergreen trees, appropriately called Evergreen Lane, my son squealed with delight as we approached the tree farm in all its festive glory. Naturally, as we got out of the car, a simply spectacular winter scene awaited us. “A-L-L the forevergreen trees” were surrounded by a beautiful blanket of snow, remnants from the first snowfall of the season. The predictable and distinctively pungent scent coming from the abundance of evergreen trees filled the cool, clean air. The three of us stopped in our tracks for a few minutes just to smell and appreciate the inviting scent of a field of “forevergreen” Christmas trees. We could also hear the traditional holiday song, O’ Holy Night, playing in the distance.
As we continued to walk towards the Christmas store that’s always filled with all kinds of holiday trinkets and goodies, we also breathed in the delightful scents of hot apple cider and hot cocoa. Familiar faces from town greeted us. The friendly Kleppin Family, owners of the Windswept Tree Farm, welcomed us with warm smiles and cheerful words as we continued to step into their rural winter wonderland.
Our mission to find “THE perfect tree” for this Christmas began with my son running off towards the farthest section to the right of the tree farm. My husband and I ran after him leaving our boot steps behind in the snow. Stopping in his tracks, Kevin whole-heartedly said “look, Mom, at A-L-L the Charlie Brown Christmas trees! That one over there is the smallest Christmas tree ever! Dad, do you think they grow them for the leprechauns that get small presents from Santa? Can we get THIS one?” “Those are baby trees, called saplings, and they need to be left where they are so they can grow. Let’s go look at the Christmas trees over there…” I replied.
My husband and son then lead the way and thoroughly “inspected” several huge evergreen trees in different clusters near the “Future Harvest” borderline. There, we observed another family on a quest to find a tree. All of a sudden, the father pointed over to an evergreen tree, and excitedly declared to his family, “I think THAT one over there is j-u-s-t perfect!” After some time, we narrowed down the selection to three different Blue Spruce trees in the area, all were 8 to 10 feet high. The several other varieties are also pretty but, just like me and my family growing up, we are partial to the Blue Spruce for a Christmas tree.
Once my husband and son were certain they, indeed, found “THE perfect tree” for our home, my husband did all the work, just as my father had done, and “made the cut” with the saw. He dragged the tree all the way up the hill towards the tree baling station where Steven and Alicia Kleppin, and one of their two daughters, McKenzie, were helping customers to bale their trees. Not needing our tree baled, my husband dragged the Christmas tree to our car and pulled it into the attached trailer. In the meantime, Kevin and I walked to the holiday shop to enjoy some tasty apple cider. My cup of cider was hot and very aromatic, just like I remember. As for my son, I placed his cup of hot cider on top of a mound of snow to cool it down. Ahhh, just the way he likes it.
The trip home with our “just perfect” Christmas tree was uneventful as we only live minutes away from the Windswept Tree Farm. As for our family experience itself, I wouldn’t change it for the world. As soon as we got to our house, my husband trimmed the tree trunk base and brought the tree inside to the family room to hoist into the stand.
As we looked up at our “perfect tree”, I couldn’t help but take a trip down Memory Lane. Family traditions, old and new, I love them!
Years ago, my Dad was the driving force behind the family mission to find the perfect Christmas tree. I can just hear him declaring matter-of-factly, “THIS is the best Christmas tree ever!” Each year, he would say this all over again and really mean it. I recall how each night my father would relax in the family room and frequently look over at the gorgeous Christmas tree, admiring it from all different angles. He would say to us, “I really think we found the perfect tree this year. It’s even better than last year, don’t you think?” Then, he would ask me to take out my camera and take pictures of the tree throughout the season: Barren. Lights strung. Ornaments up. Cat batting the ornaments or climbing up the tree. Posing with family in front of the tree. And, so on!
Where my father and family left off years ago, is when I began to carry-on the family Christmas tree-cutting tradition with my own family in our home. For Kevin’s First Christmas five years ago we decided to cut down our very first family tree with him. At the time, my husband discovered Windswept Tree Farm when he happened to read a sign while driving on Route 37 at the Sherman / New Milford border. Today, this family tradition is something that we want our child to experience each year. We hope that our son passes it on to his family when he gets older. The three of us are also thrilled that we never need to leave Sherman to find and cut-down our “just perfect” Christmas tree!
To find out more information about Windswept Tree Farm and to get directions, visit: http://www.windswepttreefarm.com/
For a listing of more Christmas Tree Farms in Fairfield County or Litchfield County visit:
Story and photo by Alicia Sakal. Originally written for Citizen News.