Christmas trees are the centerpiece of the holiday celebrations for many people, and each year, families go to tree farms to cut down their own evergreen, pick one up from a school sale or dig out their trusty fake from the basement.
So for this week's Patch Picks, we asked for the best places in Melrose or nearby to get a Christmas tree. Here's what you told us:
- Northeast Nursery, Peabody: Chris suggested this Route 1 South botanical center north of Melrose. "Slightly high priced but really nice, fresh trees that last a long time and are arranged in stands so they're easy to browse. This year we're just going to start there instead of trying to shop closer to home."
- Smolak Farms, North Andover: Ann said this farm offers both cut-your-own trees and pre-cut trees. "And, just like when you pick apples up there earlier in the fall, they have the stand open for gifts and food treats and the petting zoo to spend your quarters feeding their animals."
- Herrick's Tree Farm, Boxford: Ann also suggested this farm for those who want to cut down their own Christmas tree. "A very bare-bones place but great selection of trees and easiest place I've been to fool yourself you are actually out in the forest cutting a tree. Bring gloves and a plastic sled if there is snow on the ground! Otherwise, bring more than one adult to carry! ... More than one adult to carry the tree.... no need to carry adults around. Most know how to walk on their own."
- Crane Neck Tree Farm, West Newbury: Betsey said, "We used to really like Crane Neck Tree Farm in Newbury, but the past few years they haven't had many (or any, some years) trees to cut. They provide saws and sleds, and they offer drilling if you have one of the easy-set stands (which they also sell, and is possibly THE best $30 we ever spent). They have some fun photo-op things, and a stand selling cocoa and coffee."
- MHS Marching Band Tree Sale: Michael said, "The trees at the Melrose High School Marching Band Sale are very fresh, and reasonably priced with a big selection, especially the first day or two. The sale is Dec. 9, 10 and 11 in the school parking lot. It is a good cause and the kids have a good time tying the trees to the tops of cars. Also, there is no need to carry any adults around." Anne added, "MHS Marching band sale and in the past have also purchased at St. Mary's sale. Somehow, the tree always look perfect knowing that we've supported a local effort for the kids in Melrose.
- St. Mary's School Tree Sale: Besides trees at this Home for the Holidays weekend event, you can also buy wreaths, Kissing Balls, poinsettias, cookies by the pound and order a Cannoli Kit from Mike’s Pastry in the North End. There's also a raffle, and all sales benefit the school's 8th Grade Graduation Week activities. Katherine said, "St. Mary's 8th graders and their parents are great with tree selection ... I love the experience of arriving and being surrounded by a bunch of enthusiastic and helpful students. I pay an additional $5 and the tree is delivered to my house. I also buy my Kissing Ball there ... always beautiful and fresh. Supporting organizations and groups with Christmas decoration purchases is more important than ever in this economy. Buy local!"