How “live” is your live Christmas Tree?

live trees

Our first Christmas as a married couple, my husband and I were young, broke and living in an apartment.  We cruised through the parking lot “live Christmas Tree” sales and were floored by the prices!  We ended up buying a scraggly “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” for 20 some dollars, and were still vacuuming up pine needles when we moved out 6 months later.

When we moved into our own house the next year, we decided to start a new tradition of buying a truly “live” tree, which is a tree with the root ball attached, usually wrapped in burlap and tied.

2003 christmas tree

My Dad helped Greg move the tree, which was close to 200 pounds with the roots!  We put it in a huge plastic bucket, and tied the tree skirt around it.  I don’t have a picture of our 2002 Christmas tree, but we did the same in 2003 (above.)  When we sold that house in 2004, we excluded the trees from the sale, dug them up, and moved them to our next house.  You can see those trees in the first picture.

2004 tree

We continued the tradition in our new home, buying the tree about a week before Christmas, and keeping it in the garage for a few days, so it wasn’t shocked by the sudden warmer temperatures.

2005 tree

2005 was our daughter’s first Christmas, and as most Moms know, you tend to take pictures of your baby and nothing else!  You can sort of see the tree in the background though, hee hee!

2006 tree

We bought different trees each year, sometimes spruce, sometimes cypress.  I really liked this one, funny as it was.  It looks like it belongs in the Grinch movie!

2007 tree

We (and by “we,” I mean my husband) would dig the hole ahead of time when possible, in case the ground was frozen after Christmas.  We moved the trees to the garage again a few days after Christmas, then planted it outside.  We of course kept the soil moist while it was inside!

08 tree

In 2008 we sold our house and bought the lot on which we built our current house.  We decided to leave the trees we’d planted at that house, since one of the trees we had transplanted in 2004 didn’t make it.

We were renting a nice house in the meantime.  Unfortunately, we weren’t aware the landlord had not been paying his mortgage since well before we moved in, and the foreclosure process under way.  Some dear friends of ours allowed us to live with them until our house was ready, so we moved in the day after Thanksgiving 2008, and stayed until March of 2009.

We had our stuff jammed and crammed everywhere from the attic, the hallways and the laundry room, and there really was no room for a big tree in our area of the house.  So, we got a teeny tree that year.

As it turned out, we really ended up liking the tiny tree and we got the same in 2009.  We were able to keep ornaments out of reach of the kiddos, and decorate around the tree.  It was also much easier to handle and plant.

Through the magic of Quicken, I was able to see that the most expensive tree we bought (we usually buy from a specialty plant store/tree farm) was $82.90, which isn’t much when you consider how much cut trees cost!  Others were $76.60, $62.99, $31.49, $47.24, $5.30 at Home Depot (for the little one!) and we were even able to buy one with a gift card one year.  My husband reminded me that the grinchy tree was one we rescued from my sister’s yard.  It was in the way and she wanted it gone!  The last few years we bought big trees, we had a harder time finding one.  The small, potted trees are quite easy to find at home improvement stores, and are very affordable!  I really like the Leyland Cypress trees because they are pretty, and grow quickly.

We drove by our old house, and the Christmas trees planted there haven’t all made it, I think it’s at least partly because of the rocky soil and high winds.  We live out in the country now and deer love to nom on our trees, but one of the two trees is still doing OK!

I know there are places that will mulch your trees after Christmas, but hey, isn’t planting a live tree even more eco-friendly, and wallet friendly too?  If we could get all of our trees to make it through the winters, it would be so neat to take a picture of our kids in 20 years standing near all of the past Christmas trees!

How about you?  If you celebrate Christmas, do you do an artifical tree, a cut tree, or a live tree?


  1. 2
    hippie4ever says:

    What a great family tradition! We have done the rosemary ‘ Christmas’ trees a few times and may this year as well. They are fantastic, because you can cook with them too :) Unfortunately they won’t survive the severe winter where I live were I too plant them outside. But they occupy the kitchen, unless I get to zealous with cooking;) I have only had a cut tree a handful of times and have felt EXTREMELY guilty! And I can’t do plastic trees :( So it’s usually Rosemary or none.

  2. 3

    Great idea on the rosemary! It does look like a tree! We planted basil that we bought for $2 at the grocery store and it got HUGE and lasted all summer! We had thyme and parsley too, but none of them lasted through fall!


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