Once the Thanksgiving leftovers are nestled all snug in the fridge (with the promise of turkey sandwiches dancing in your head), it’s on to the next order of business: picking out the perfect tree. Lumberjack your way into the season by visiting a local cut-your-own tree farm. Or, skip the chilly stroll through the countryside by opting for a tree delivery service. Click through our guide for tree farms and resources and start the decorating frenzy!
Kuipers Family Farm
Known widely as an apple-picking mecca in the western suburbs, this beautiful 260-acre farm also provides farm-goers the opportunity to choose and cut their own Christmas tree or select from precut 7’-12’ trees. For those going the choose-and-cut route, wagon rides to the fields and saws are provided and trees are shaken and baled at no additional charge. Showing your tree receipt in the Farmhouse Kitchen will score you one of Kuiper’s famous apple cider donuts free of charge. Wash down the deliciousness with hot apple cider and take a freshly baked pie or mouthwatering homemade fudge to go.
Varieties: Choose and Cut: Scotch Pine, Douglas and Fraser Fir; Pre-Cut: Fraser Fir
1N318 Watson Rd., Maple Park
Richardson Adventure Farm
Over 50,000 trees in innumerable shapes and sizes spread over 75 acres await the opportunity to become the centerpieces to your holiday season at Richardson Adventure Farm. Reserving your tree hunting for the weekend nets you a free wagon ride to the fields with the promise of freshly made kettle corn upon your return. While you gorge on kettle corn, donuts, hot chocolate and coffee in the heated barn, employees haul your find from the field and bale it in plastic netting. Enjoy the barn’s warmth while you peruse hundreds of handmade wreaths, garlands and decorations.
Varieties: Canaan, Concolor, Douglas and Fraser Fir; Scotch and White Pine; Blue Spruce
9407 Richardson Rd., Spring Grove
Ben's Christmas Tree Farm
Hunt with the precision of Katniss for your perfect tree after hitching a horse-drawn carriage ride to fields overflowing with organically grown, pesticide-free and entirely hand-pruned firs and pines on this 55-acre Christmas tree farm in McHenry County. Friendly farm workers will help by shaking, baling, transporting your tree from the fields and finally tying it to your car while you enjoy making foamy mustaches with complimentary hot cocoa in the warming barn. Stop by the stables to see Bluebell the horse and his goat friends while keeping an eye out for a Where’s Waldo-esque Santa that pops up in unexpected places - like driving a John Deere. For those looking for more than just a tree to decorate for the holidays, pre-made and customizable wreaths and greens made from Fraser Fir are also available. As a bonus, no need to leave your little fur ball at home because they're pet friendly!
Varieties: Fraser, Canaan and Balsam Fir; Norway, Colorado Blue, White and Englemann Spruce; Scotch and White Pine
7720 Ryan Rd., Harvard
Pioneer Tree Farm
Motivated by a love of nature and a desire to give people an opportunity to get out and enjoy the country air, Pioneer Tree Farm sets out to sell not just Christmas trees, but an unforgettable experience. Take in the wildlife while you enjoy a wagon ride to the pines. While you wait for your tree to be shaken and baled, warm your fingers with hot chocolate in the warming barn. You can feel good about your organically-grown, hand-pruned tree purchase because 10% of sales are donated to the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, who’s mission it is to improve and preserve the environment.
Varieties: Variety of spruces, pines, cedars and firs
4614 Pioneer Rd., McHenry
Bengtson’s Christmas Tree Farm
This 137-acre tree farm will sweep you up in the magic of the holidays with Santa’s reindeer taking up residence until Christmas Eve. Take in their sweetness while you scour evergreen fields for your version of the ultimate tree. Once you lay claim to your tree of choice by cutting it down, the staff will retrieve it for free and shake and wrap for a small charge. While you wait, cozy up around the wood burning stove and enjoy fresh mini donuts and hot chocolate and select a handmade wreath.
Varieties: Canaan, Douglas and Fraser Fir; White, Black Hill and Colorado Spruce; White and Scotch Pine
10919 W. Wilmington Rd., Peotone
Cupola House Tree Farm
It started in 1988 with 6,000 tree seedlings planted on land that encompassed a house with a cupola on top. Nearly 30 years later, and after many references of “Oh right, the cupola house” being answered with “Yep, the Cupola House Tree Farm,” the name stuck and 24,000 trees now stand. Now, 2nd and 3rd generations keep the tradition of connecting with nature, farming, culture, heritage and each other alive alongside the original founders. All you need to worry about during a trip to Cupola is finding the perfect tree, they provide the tree saw, wagon, twine and they even shake loose needles off and strap it to your car. Celebrate your find with a hot cup of apple cider that flows freely in a festive indoor/outdoor pavilion, made complete with a cozy fire.
Varieties: Douglas, Fraser and Concolor Fir; Blue and Norway Spruce; White and Scots Pine
4030 N. 3000W Rd., Bourbonnais
Tree Delivery Options
Wielding an ax and taking a Jack Frost-guided tour through rows of icicled trees doesn’t fit everyone’s vision of the perfect way to spend a blustery afternoon, which is why services like City Tree Delivery exist. Curl up on the sofa with a blanket and hot toddy, dog snoozing at your feet, and select a tree, LED lighting, stand, wreath and garland delivered free of charge (within their delivery area) right to your front door. You can go a step further and have them setup, decorate and even recycle the tree at the end of the season. Buying a tree sight unseen takes a leap of faith, so if you’d rather leave the leaping to the lords, visit their lot to pick your favorite.
1531 N. Damen Ave., Wicker Park
4100 N. Damen Ave., North Center
281 N. York, Elmhurst
If you’d rather skip the farm and hit a lot, there are many to choose from around the city. Chicago Christmas Tree Lots sells a large selection of firs, spruces and pines and has several locations throughout the city, with delivery service available at all locations.
— Maria Chambers