Picking out a Christmas tree is a big deal for many families, a marker of the season. For these families, their tree is the centerpiece of Christmas, adorned with precious keepsakes and twinkling lights to enjoy during the dark winter.
Sure, you could grab a nice looking tree on your grocery run or even dust off the plastic one you have in the garage, but where’s the fun in that? Why not support our local farmers and head out to a U-pick Christmas tree farm instead? Maybe this is the year to turn your tree selection into a real-live family outing. Some farms offer free hot beverages, visits with Santa, festive photo ops, wagon rides and more. And not to worry, cutting down your own tree is not as intimidating as it might sound. Most farms offer pre-cut options to choose from if hand-sawing isn’t your thing.
If your family is really adventurous, you can Clark Griswold it and head to the mountains to cut down a wild tree! Scroll to the end of this article and be prepared to follow detailed instructions for this.
Whether from a U-pick farm or National Forest foraging, the family time, rosy cheeks and fresh evergreen scent wafting through your home will make the trek well worth it.
Important: Some farms require appointments and some don't, so take note. You'll need to mask up and follow each farm's detailed COVID safety rules. Also, we recommend double-checking the farm's website or Facebook page before heading as status can change day by day.
Serres Farm, Redmond
Serres farm is a small farm tucked away in Redmond, just off of Redmond-Fall City Road. Stay warm with a free hot beverage while searching the Christmas tree forest. Open weekends until they sell out. Call 425-868-3017 or check the Facebook page for updates.
Trinity Tree Farm, Issaquah
This one is a favorite of many Seattle- and Eastside-area families. It gets busy on the weekends so try going on a weekday. No complimentary hot cocoa this year and the log cabin will be closed. They do have hot beverages for purchase however and to-go snacks on the weekends. Open daily until they sell out. Check the farm's website or Facebook page for updates!
Mountain Creek Christmas Tree Farm, Snoqualmie
A tree farm with a view, this longtime Christmas tree grower is located near the base of beautiful Mount Si. Appointments are required this year, and the farm plans to be open daily through Dec. 11 or until they sell out. Book on the website; find more details on the Facebook page or call 425-888-1770 with questions.
Honey Tree Farm, Auburn
Grab some free hot cider or cocoa and set off on your tree hunt! You will find plenty of options and variety on the 11-acre farm. When your mission is complete, grab a bag of kettle corn, check out the gift shop and get a candy cane from jolly ol' Saint Nick himself! (Santa is around weekends only). Open daily until pre-cut trees are sold out (anticipated to be around Dec. 16). Check the Facebook page for updates.
Schilter Family Farm, Olympia
Ride a wagon (weekends only) to the Christmas tree patch to find your perfect match. Once you have picked your perfect tree, it will be delivered to the barn for you. Hot drinks and cider donuts are available for purchase on the weekends. Kids can wave at the animals (no petting this year) and look at the nativity scene. Flocking is available if you want that fresh snow look. Open daily through Dec. 13. Visit the Facebook page for more details.
Coates Christmas Trees, Auburn
Christmas cheer abounds at this wonderfully decorated tree farm in Auburn. Indulge in a hot drink, take a picture with Santa Dec. 5–6 and find your perfect tree! Leashed pets are welcome here. Open daily until they sell out. Call 253-709-6293 or check the Facebook page for updates.
Traditions Tree Farm, Maple Valley
On a clear day, there is a glorious view of Mount Rainier from this Maple Valley tree farm. While searching for your tree, be on the lookout for Santa’s reindeer too! Find all nine reindeer cut-outs hidden around the farm and win a prize! They also have hot beverages, a gift shop featuring items by local artists and a model train running on a track through the barn!. Open Friday–Sunday through Dec. 13. Visit the farm's Facebook page for more info.
Stocker Farms, Snohomish
Stocker Farms keeps families visiting in all seasons: sunflowers in the summer, pumpkins in the fall and trees in the winter! With seven types of u-cut or pre-cut trees to choose from, you are sure to find your perfect living room centerpiece. No Santa this year but they'll have fresh kettle corn and espresso drinks for purchase. Open daily through Dec. 13. Check the website and the Facebook page for updates.
Farmer Brown’s Christmas Tree Farm, Arlington
With 32 acres and trees up to 14-feet tall, the options at Farmer Brown’s are plentiful! Open daily, 9 a.m. to dark, through Dec. 20. While you’re at the farm, warm your toes near the bonfire and enjoy festive Christmas music. Beautiful pre-cut flocked trees are available for purchase as well. Call Farmer Brown himself at 360-659-6686 or check out the Facebook page for updates.
Carnation Tree Farm, Carnation
Take in a bit of history at this farm listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here the farmers grow a variety of different trees and provide twine, tree-shaking, baling and tree recycling with every purchase. No Santa or gift shop this year but they will be selling a variety of other greens for decorating. Open weekends. Be sure to call ahead to 425-369-7999 as the farm is getting low on trees.
Christmas Creek Tree Farm, North Bend
Update: This farm has sold out of trees for 2020. Sorry! Stay warm with some complimentary hot cider or coffee and peruse the amazing selection of trees offered at Christmas Creek. This farm offers pre-cut and U-cut trees, plus there are Bend Bakery cookies for purchase! Check out the farm's flyer for more information and its Facebook page for updates.
Buttonwood Farm, Redmond
Update: This farm's appointment slots are full. Rats! Buttonwood Farm grows 100 percent organic trees. Get your hands dirty cutting your tree and loading it yourself or take advantage of their white glove delivery service. This farm is open by appointment this year, and unfortunately, all available appointment times have been booked. Check the Facebook page and save this one for next year.
How to cut a Christmas tree from the national forest
This is a perfect Christmas tradition for adventurous, outdoorsy families, but you do need to be prepared. Here are important tips:
First, you’ll need to obtain a $10 permit to cut within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (which, if you live in the Puget Sound area, is where you'll be cutting). Each non-refundable permit allows the cutting of one tree 15 feet or under in height with a maximum stump height of 12 inches. You must print and bring your permit with you.
For most area families, the closest spots will be in North Bend off I-90 or via Forest Service roads off 410 past Enumclaw and Buckley, heading into Greenwater (near Mount Rainier), but there are locations north as well (such as Highway 2 and the Mountain Loop Byway).
You can get lots more information and maps at the Forest Service site, or when you pick up your permit.
Be sure to cut only in permissible areas. Cutting down a tree from a campground, private land, within 150 feet of a stream, lake or wetland area is a big no-no!
Once you’ve decided where to go, follow a few guidelines to make sure your outing stays fun and safe.