A column from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D):

The holiday season is filled with traditions like dinners prepared with special family recipes, shopping, gift exchanges, open houses and caroling – just to name a few.

A tradition many West Virginia families enjoy is making an annual trip to a local Choose and Cut Christmas tree farm.

Make purchasing your fresh Christmas tree a family adventure. Before you go, decide which species of tree you want – pine, spruce or fir – and measure the area where you plan to locate it in your home. Knowing the height and width you need also will help you steer clear of anything too large or too small. Once you know what you want, find the farm nearest you that grows your chosen species and has the size of tree you need.

Where to find a West Virginia Christmas Tree

This is also the time to decide whether you want to cut the tree yourself or if you want help.

The majority of West Virginia’s Choose and Cut Christmas tree farms provide some degree of assistance and tools to get the tree from the field to the car. Others, though, let you do it all yourself so be sure to take along any tools you might need. The West Virginia Division of Forestry provides an interactive map and listings of participating Choose and Cut Christmas tree farms. Download information on locations, operating hours, products, species, sizes and services at wvforestry.com.

When you’re ready, make a day of it!

Load the family into the car and sing Christmas carols as you drive to the farm. Once you are there, enjoy any seasonal touches the farm may provide like candy canes, hot cocoa or live music. Before you leave, check out any other products the farm sells, including wreaths and greenery to bring added holiday cheer to your home.

A visit to a Choose and Cut Christmas tree farm creates an enduring holiday memory of togetherness and family fun, and buying your Christmas tree at a Choose and Cut Christmas tree farm supports local farmers and the local economy, which benefits all of us.

Whether you are honoring a long-held family tradition or starting a new one, I encourage you to make this holiday season special with a West Virginia-grown Choose and Cut Christmas tree.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Ready? Find Out Where To Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in West Virginia