It’s Christmas time in the city! City life, however, doesn’t necessarily have to mean meager options for filling one’s home with the sights (and smells) of Christmas. Be it fir, spruce, pine or some other gloriously obscure variation (pink plastic, anyone?), finding that gloriously noble tree is of paramount importance as the season draws near. From pre-cut live trees and snow flocked offerings to table toppers and those you cut down yourself, read on to discover which spots & lots will make you want to deck all the halls and more!
photo: Jason Lander via Flickr
Frosty’s Forest Christmas Tree Farm
If this is your first visit to Frosty’s Forest, we bet it won’t be your last. The friendly service here makes you feel instantly like part of the Frosty’s family. Not to mention the experience of chopping down your own tree (then warming up with the hot chocolate they always have on hand) is enough to make you feel like you live on a hillside in New Hampshire (instead of in a major metropolitan city). You won’t get sticker shock (all u-chop trees are the same price) and if you don’t feel like swinging a saw, they’ve got freshly cut trees in all sizes to choose from. This might just be the start of a beautiful family tradition.
Extra Trimmings: Pets on a leash are totally welcome here so your fur babies can also get in on the holiday (nature) action! Kids will love tramping along to help pick out a tree and may just enjoy the complimentary candy cane & cocoa treats even more.
Location: 25235 Orchard Village Rd., Valencia
Hours: Open daily from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve, weekdays opens at noon., weekends at 9 a.m. The cut-your-own farm closes at dusk, but you can purchase a pre-cut till 9 p.m.
photo: Shawn’s Christmas Trees
Shawn’s Christmas Trees
If you’re looking for a no-frills Christmas tree lot with quality options to choose from, look no further than Shawn’s. After 37 years of selling trees on LA’s Westside, these guys know their stuff and you’re pretty much guaranteed to come home with a beauty. The trees (6 different varieties including Fraser Firs) are brought in from North Carolina and kept very well maintained so quality and freshness are never an issue. They also offer delivery (and removal) service, so if you’re not into strapping a noble fir to your car roof, Shawn’s will deliver and set up your tree for a small fee.
Extra Trimmings: Both locations offer fire retardant treatments but only the La Cienega spot provides tree flocking. If your door needs some love, Shawn’s also features 6 different size wreaths for your Christmas decoration pleasure so be sure to check those out as well.
Locations: La Cienega & Centinela / Palms & Sepulveda
Hours: Open daily from November 24 through Christmas from 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
photo: Marta H. via Yelp
Tina’s welcomes families with a warm, friendly atmosphere, and you can choose your perfect tree from their assortment of Noble, Douglas, and Grand Firs. Feeling overwhelmed by all the options? Don’t hesitate to ask for Tina’s help in finding the perfect tree–after 41 years of growing a successful Christmas tree business, she’s truly the matchmaker of trees. Describe what you need (size, smell, how long you want it to last, etc.) and she’ll match you with the perfect variety for you. Didn’t know that with your tenacious three-year-old pulling on branches you might want to try a durable Fraser Fir this year? Now you do.
Extra Trimmings: If you’ve got tall ceilings or big rooms to fill, this is the place for you as they’ve got loads of massive 14’ to 15’ beauties to pick from.
Location: Sherman Oaks and Calabasas
Hours: Open daily after Thanksgiving through Christmas from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. (The Calabasas location opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 8pm on weekdays.)
photo: Fillmore & Western Railway via Facebook
Fillmore and Western Christmas Tree Train
Bundle up the kids and take a honest-to-goodness real train ride on the Fillmore and Western rails to a working Christmas tree farm where you can pick a pre-cut tree, bring it back with you on the train, and then put it on the car for the ride home. Santa may even be on board to visit with kids of all ages making it impossible to feel anything less than festive! That’s a holiday memory that will last forever.
Extra Trimmings: Bring a jacket as it gets chilly, and don’t forget that the train tickets ($12-$26) do not include the cost of the tree. Snacks and drinks (including beer and wine for the parents who aren’t driving!) are available on the train for purchase.
Location: 364 Main St., Fillmore
Hours: Trains depart at 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays from November 25–December 10.
Underwood Family Farms / Big Wave Dave’s
Christmas comes to Underwood Family Farms (that place you go for all-things Fall) with fresh cut trees from Big Wave Dave’s Christmas Trees, as well as mistletoe, wreaths & all the fixings. Big Wave Dave’s tree lot is set up in Underwood’s parking area and features gorgeous fresh cut trees from the Pacific Northwest. You can also enjoy the regular fun the farm’s animal center has to offer, from tractor rides, animal shows, pony rides, the petting corral, farm stand fresh fruits and veggies and other activities. Finding that perfect Christmas tree has never been so family friendly!
Extra Trimmings: Underwood’s animal center is only open on weekends (weather permitting) so be sure to call ahead before you head out with your car full of eager beavers. Don’t miss visits with Santa Claus on Dec. 2, 3, 9, & 10 from 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Location: 3370 Sunset Valley Rd., Moorpark
Hours: Christmas trees are available daily starting November 24-December 18 from 9:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m. Underwood’s animal center & market are open (weekends only) from November 24 – December 18 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Delancey Street Holiday Trees
Score a beautiful holiday tree and advocate for a great cause at the same time: with every tree (or tree-related) purchase you’re supporting Delancey Street, a leading residential self-help organization for former substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless and others who have hit bottom and need a helping hand. In addition to trees, you can also stock up on mistletoe, indoor tree lights, decorated wreaths, living potted pines, tree removal bags and tree water bowls. The Christmas trees aren’t cheap, but they’re always fantastically fresh and you’re doing a good thing in the season of giving.
Extra Trimmings: Let this bout with philanthropy remind you to sign up to volunteer somewhere this holiday season.
Location: There are Delancey tree lots this year in Culver City, Pasadena, Los Feliz, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach and Ventura.
Hours: All lots open November 24 and close December 24. Check the website to find the hours and location nearest you.
photo: John W. via Yelp
If you’re feeling so fa-la-la-la-la that you can’t imagine only getting a tree, we’ve got the spot for gorgeous trees, wreaths, boughs, holly & more. Mr. Greentrees goes above and beyond by providing delivery and installation services, as well as custom ordering. Choose from their elegant and fragrant selections of Noble, Grand, and Douglas Fir trees (handpicked from family farms in Washington and Oregon), and add merry home accents of juniper, noble, red cedar, incense cedar, mistletoe, and holly-green decorative, fresh greenery. These trees are pampered throughout their journey to Los Angeles and are kept humid and happy until they leave the lot. Rumor has it that celebs like to frequent this spot, so keep your peepers peeled, if star sightings float your boat. Just keep in mind that these are high quality trees, so expect to pay a little more.
Extra Trimmings: For every tree Mr. Greentrees cuts, two saplings are planted in the same location. They also donate a portion of each year’s profits to environmental charities.
Location: 1030 S. La Cienega Blvd., LA
Hours: Open daily from November 24 from 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
photo: Living Christmas Tree Company via Facebook
Living Christmas Tree Company
Why not start an eco-friendly holiday tradition this year by renting a living Christmas tree? At Living Christmas Tree Company, you can choose between several varieties of locally grown trees, and then they will deliver a live, potted tree to your doorstep. After Christmas, your sweet tree can avoid a sad, curbside demise, because staff will pick it up from your house and return it to their nursery.
Extra Trimmings: If you get attached to your tall fir, you can adopt it and get back the same tree year after year. And if the prices look too steep, ask they about their “misfit trees.” These are guys with a little bald spot (that you can always decorate around) that come a bit cheaper.
photo: Mr. Jingles Christmas Trees via Yelp
Mr. Jingles Christmas Trees
All of the Mr. Jingles lots are staffed with friendly tree-huggers and have plenty of fresh cut firs from both Oregon’s Cascade Mountains and (new this year) North Carolina to choose from. If you want to choose a festive tree in person (or even on-line), but not wrestle it onto your car, they’ll deliver your selection and set it up for you, too. Fees depend on distance of delivery and size of tree.
Extra Trimmings: To keep kids occupied while you select the perfect tree, they have free candy canes, and plenty of Christmas boughs (also free) so you can take them home and craft up some wreaths. Make a family day out of it at the Farmer’s Market location and spend some time soaking up the holiday cheer at the Grove before heading home with your beautiful tree!
Locations: Hollywood, Westwood & The Farmer’s Market (3rd & Fairfax)
Hours: Open daily Thanksgiving through Christmas. Open 10 a.m.–9 p.m. daily.
photo: Santa and Sons Christmas Trees via Facebook
Santa and Sons
How lovely are their branches? Very. All of the trees at Santa and Sons come from a family-run Oregon farm, using sustainable farming methods that have been certified by the Coalition of Environmentally Conscious Growers. Their trees come with a big price tag, but you’re getting a super fresh tree that’s environmentally sound and gorgeous to boot. You and your tiny tree people can choose from an array of Douglas Fir, Nordmann Fir, Grand Fir, and Noble Fir Christmas trees, with these gentle giants ranging anywhere from 6’ to well over 12’ tall. With a name like theirs, it wouldn’t be right if the big man himself didn’t pay a visit every now and again. Most weekend afternoons you can find Santa visiting with the tree shoppers, but best to call ahead and check his jolly ol’ schedule before making the trip!
Extra Trimmings: Not only do they offer home delivery, but if you aren’t sure if they have the exact type of Christmas tree you crave, call ahead with your preferences and they will stream some options as live images on their website! Since this lot’s main objective is to offer pretty trees via methods that are good for the environment that’s a great service to consider (especially if your kids are on the young side, and don’t yet care about helping pick the tree).
Location: 12901 Burbank Blvd., Van Nuys
Hours: Open daily November 24-December 24 from 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
Home Depot Christmas Tree Lots
If you don’t need the “getting-a-tree” experience, and you want to surprise the kids by letting them wake up to a tree in the living room that they can decorate, we’ve got just the place. Hit the parking lot at your local Home Depot. They’re everywhere; they’re easy. Trees are inexpensive and plentiful, and if you need extra lights or décor (or you know, paint chips or anything) you’re in luck. We feel almost like the Grinch to promote something so hum drum, but sometimes as parents we need fast, cheap & easy. Merry Christmas!
Extra Trimmings: Since they deal in high volume, most of the trees are quite fresh. Because it can get pretty crowded, bring along some work gloves and scissors of your own to open up the tree nettings so you can get a good look at your tree before buying, as the Home Depot elves can get spread very thin at these lots! Be sure to get there either early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the crazy crowds and bring a couple of bucks to tip the guys that will tie your tree to your car (if you’re not planning to do this yourself).
Hours: Check your local store for hours and availability of trees.
Which Christmas tree lot does your family visit year after year? Or, do you opt for an artificial tree—we want to know!
—Beth Shea & Jenifer Scott
Main images by Jason Lander via Flickr