Wrap them in scarves, pack them into the car and take a nice drive into the Illinois countryside to choose and cut a live Christmas tree in . McHenry County, Illinois just northwest of Chicago. The area harvests more fresh Christmas trees than anywhere else in the state.
The Christmas tree farms open the day after Thanksgiving (some remain open through Dec.23) and isn’t it smart of you to make Black Friday a nice shade of pine? The farms provide saws and offer assistance if needed and if you can’t find the perfect one, many of the farms offer pre-cut trees. They’ll shake and bale your tree and help you secure it to your car for the ride home.
Ben’s Christmas Tree Farm offers nine varieties of organically-grown, pesticide-free trees from 6-15 feet: fir, spruce and pine. Handmade wreaths and garlands are at the farm or you can order online for delivery anywhere in the continental US. Expect horse-drawn wagon rides, gift shop, Santa Claus, farm animals, free cocoa and coffee. Open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the day after Thanksgiving and weekends through Dec, 20, and 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Fridays, Dec. 4, 11 & 18. Find Ben at 7719 Ryan Rd. & 16324 Capron Rd., Harvard.
Bill’s Friendly Evergreen Tree Farm at 3102 W. Miller Rd., Spring Grove carries six varieties of pine, spruce and fir from $45. Family owned and operated for 20 years, the farm is heavy on Christmas trees and customer service. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving and weekends from Nov. 27 through Dec.20.
Cal & Shan’s Christmas Tree Farm sells ten varieties of spruce, fir and pine and rooted live trees for planting after Christmas. All trees $50. Open one weekend only, Dec. 5-6. The addresses are 14216 Thayer Rd. and 3509 Lily Pond Rd., Woodstock.
Grizzy’s Tree Farm, 15900 Marengo Rd. in Union offers scotch and white pines for $45 and Frasier Fir for $53. Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 27 and weekends through Dec. 13. Call for details at (847) 812-2961.
Grandpa’s Christmas Tree Farm is a good bet with dozens of varieties of trees in all heights and girths at $56. Free cocoa and coffee and tractor-drawn wagon rides add to the fun. It’s open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the day after Thanksgiving and weekends through Dec. 13. Tap in this address to the GPS: 13616 Ill. Rte. 176, Woodstock.
Bring the saw to Holly Jolly Tree Farm, 4919 Bull Valley Rd., McHenry, for you-cut Scotch pine, or get a pre-cut Frasier fir. There’s a petting zoo, wagon rides, gift shop, free cocoa. Open: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dec.12, 13 and 19. Call (815) 385-9627.
Oney’s Tree Farm, is a popular place during the holidays and the oldest and largest tree farm in Northern Illinois should be. With more more than 60,000 trees on 60 acres, Oney’s offers you-cut, pre-cut or rooted-for-later-planting in nine varieties of fir, pine and spruce. Weekend horse-drawn wagon rides, bakery, lunch, cocoa, Mrs. Claus in her North Pole house, wreaths, garlands, decorations and gifts are a part of the festive atmosphere at 16608 U.S. 14, Woodstock.. Open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 27 through Dec.13.
Pine-Apple Tree Farm, 309 Three Oaks Road, Cary, has ten acres of you-cut Black Hill and Colorado spruce, Scotch pine and Douglas fir. There are pre-cut Wisconsin Frazier firs, too. Open 9 a.m. to dusk the day after Thanksgiving and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to dusk Sundays, through Dec 20.
Pioneer Tree Farm, 4614 Pioneer Rd., McHenry offers organically-grown pine, juniper, spruce and fir. There are also tractor-drawn wagon rides, free cocoa and coffee in the warming house and rustic handmade decorations. It’s open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the day after Thanksgiving, and weekends through Dec. 20.
Richardson’s Tree Farm is a biggie with more than 50,000 trees and seven varieties of spruce, pine and fir on 75 acres. Fresh donuts and kettle corn, free cocoa and coffee in the heated barn with indoor restrooms, wreaths, garlands and decorations add to the seasonal fun. Get to 9407 Richardson Rd., Spring Grove. daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Nov. 27 through Dec. 23.