Every year Julie Brower and her family celebrate Christmas with a real tree.
"It's a family tradition," said Brower who lives in East Lansing. "It's what I did growing up and continue to do it with our children. They are grown up but when they are in town, they still like to come with us and we do it as a family."
The Brower's don't go for artificial.
"We have lots of stories over the years of different weather and fighting over which tree was just the right tree, so we just enjoy accumulating family stories and enjoy talking about them," said Brower.
For the last two years they have purchased their tree at Peacock Tree Farm. They say it has lots of good trees to choose from.
Ed Carpenter and his wife started the farm 17 years ago and he is hoping this year everyone gets a real tree.
"Fake! You mean plastic oil trees, when you can get a real one that enhances the environment, that's a renewable," said Ed Carpenter, the owner of Peacock Tree Farm.
The next three weeks are a huge rush for the industry. Carpenter says at Peacock this year sales are up.
"All these trees are grown just like corn, and you replant," said Carpenter. "We plant about 4,000 trees a year, so it's a constant turn over, and helps the carbon footprint. Everything is good about a real tree."
You have to be careful about saying the word artificial around a tree farm. Most are firm believers in nothing but real, they like the fragrance, the fun of selecting their personal tree, and say unlike buying fake trees from China, real trees support the local economy.
For those hoping to get a real tree this holiday season, they have pre-cut trees at Peacock. You can also select from one of the many that are still growing, and for families with little kids visiting Santa is always a fun idea.
"It's one of our must do's every Christmas season," said Elisa Guyton, who drove to Peacock from Ypsilanti.
Families can take a train ride to visit Santa in his cottage at the north pole. There's hot cocoa, and a fire to roast marshmallows.
"The kids love to see Santa," said Guyton. "They think it is a magical train ride up north to his cottage. Then they get to tell Santa what they want for Christmas and it just makes the season even better."
Trees vary in prices depending on the size and variety. They cost anywhere from $30 to over $100 for the bigger trees. Some of the trees have been growing for 10 years.
"It's really a great family activity because it's not just the tree you go home with, it's the time that you spend together," said Marsha Gray, the Executive Director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association.
As for the Brower family, they found their perfect tree, and headed home to decorate.
Out of all 50 states, Michigan is ranked number three for most trees harvested and number one for the largest varieties of Christmas trees produced.
If you're looking for the perfect tree, and aren't quite sure where to start, click on the link below. It will help you find the closest farm or retail lot in your area.
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