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Christmas tree time

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We've hit that time of year when families are looking for the perfect tree for Christmas. While there are a lot of trees on lots all over the place, cutting your own is a great way to not only get that perfect tree, but to have a great time outdoors too.

Choosing and cutting your tree is relatively simple, especially at the Christmas tree farms in El Dorado County. A short drive gives you a sleigh full of options. There are 34 Christmas tree farms in the El Dorado County Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Choose your trip: Fairplay, Placerville, Camino, Pollock Pines, Garden Valley, Omo Ranch, Somerset, or Georgetown. Depending on your preference, you'll be in the foothills or up in the mountains. What is a certainty is that the drive will be well worth it.

When you arrive at your choice of tree farm, you'll be greeted with a wonderful evergreen aroma, straight from Mother Nature. Bundle up, as it can be pretty chilly, to downright cold up there at this time of year.

Wear clothing that is suitable for your task. You'll be walking on dirt trails, which may be a bit muddy, or, perhaps, frozen. Layers work best. Staying warm and comfortable are easier if you can add or subtract a layer as the temperature varies during your outing.

A pair of gloves is a really good thing to have. The trees can be a bit messy, and sap on your hands is not much fun.

The farm will give you a saw, and off you go. Doug fir, Noble fir, Silvertips, white fir, cedar, and a few exotics are all out there waiting for you and your family to come by.

Once you've cut your tree, let the people who work at the tree farm run it through the mesh machine. It's easier to carry, and much easier to lash onto your car. Bring enough rope to tie it down well. You will, after all, be driving on the highway or county roads to get home.

The tree farm may well have hot coffee, cider, and hot chocolate, as well as a few crumpets, for sale too. Stop in Placerville, Pollock Pines, or Camino for lunch or dinner on your way back home.

Building good family memories is important. Heading to the hills to cut your own Christmas tree is a good one to have.

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