Close this search box.
Doug, Madison and Hunter Haymond pick their perfect Christmas Tree at French Creek Christmas Trees on Friday, Nov. 27. Doug Haymond said they usually get a six- to eight-foot tree and enjoy spending family time together picking their tree.

Cut-your-own full-size Christmas trees and new tabletop trees are going fast at French Creek Christmas Trees

FRENCH CREEK – Christmas trees are being cut down and trimmed up very quickly this year, according to the owners of one local tree farm in Upshur County.

French Creek Christmas Trees owners Ron and Matilda Fowler said their trees are being selected, chopped down, baled and making their way into homes very quickly this year.

French Creek Christmas Trees has been offering cut-your-own Christmas Trees for more than 30 years. They have a huge selection of white pine as well as Canaan Firs.

“The trees range in size from about five feet to eight foot,” Matilda said. “We have some bigger trees in the white pine, but most people prefer the Canaan Fir because it retains its needles very well and is a sturdy tree which holds the heavier ornaments. The Canaan Fir also has a fir aroma – a citrusy smell. A lot of people like that.”

She said the white pine is soft and pliable.

“It is very good for lighter ornaments like the old-fashioned ones and is preferable if children will be helping to do the decorating,” Matilda said.

One of their newest offerings, which is great for people who have limited space, is a ‘table tree.’ Matilda said they began the season, which started the Friday after Thanksgiving, very busy and said several people were interested in these smaller trees.

Reporter Beth Broschart’s own just-decorated tabletop tree from French Creek Farms.

“On the first day, we had three table-top trees and by noon, we had sold out of them and Ron had to cut more,” Matilda said. “The table-top trees we are selling are under four feet tall.”

Jessica and Theodore Williams have been coming to French Creek Christmas Trees for the last five years because they think it is fun to be able to select their own tree. Jessica said another reason they come to French Creek Christmas Trees is because they want to support their local businesses.

Another great opportunity at the French Creek Christmas Tree farm is kid-friendly: As families come to select and harvest the perfect tree for their Christmas season, kids are encouraged to bring along their letters to Santa Claus. A large postal box, made specifically for letters headed to the North Pole, is waiting to receive requests from children for their most treasured Christmas gifts and wishes.

“There will be the opportunity for kids to meet with Frosty through the season, including Saturday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 12,” Matilda said. “We also have coloring books and candy canes for the children.”

Matilda said she and Ron have been selling the cut-your-own fresh Christmas Trees for nearly 35 years. Cutting a fresh Christmas Tree has many advantages – the main one being families can come together and make their selection and share that experience, she said.

“Fresh Christmas trees are better for the environment,” Matilda said. “It doesn’t come from China – artificial Christmas Trees are almost 95 percent made in China and you cannot recycle them. When an artificial tree goes to the landfill, it is there for years and years and years. Real trees are recyclable, and one acre of real Christmas Trees provides enough oxygen for 18 people.”

Matilda said there are other compelling reasons to choose a real Christmas tree.

“Wildlife and birds use the trees,” she said. “They are definitely better for nature. We plant three new trees for each one of our trees that are cut and harvested.”

According to the West Virginia Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, Christmas trees make excellent bird feeders, adding color and excitement to the winter garden or lawn and provide food and shelter for birds and small animals. When the season ends, Christmas trees may be recycled in some communities or submerged in ponds and lakes for refuge and feeding areas for fish.

Because of the high numbers of COVID-19 cases, Matilda said they are requesting that visitors wear face coverings when they are in the garage area, in the parking lot when they are busy and out by the tree bailer.

“When families are out in the fields selecting their tree, they are not required to have a face covering,” she said.

Ashley, Godrick, Adrianna, Matt and dog Taryn selected their Christmas Tree Friday at French Creek Christmas Trees. Ashley said they have been getting their tree there for the past few years and enjoy the experience of selecting their own tree, and that keeps them coming back.

The process for selecting a tree at French Creek Christmas Trees is easy – some families already came to the farm beginning October 1 to pre-select and tag their tree.

“You take out a saw and go out to the field and select the Christmas tree you want,” she said. “We provide a hand sanitizer station, and we are cleaning the saws between each use. Once folks select and chop down their tree, they bring their tree to the bailer and then when bailed, they load it into their vehicle.”

Matilda said they are anticipating closing the farm around Dec. 20 but said to be sure to check out their Facebook page for announcements – including a possible visit from Santa Claus. Their Facebook page is French Creek Christmas Trees.

“If someone has health issues or if they are high risk for COVID and do not want to come on a weekend when we are busy, they can message us on Facebook, and we will work with them to set up a better time,” Matilda said.

Starting a cut-your-own Christmas Tree Farm is a long-term commitment, and Matilda said it took about seven to eight years after planting before trees could be harvested. Ron Fowler was a forester by trade and Matilda said opted to go into tree farming because they knew others who grew Christmas trees.

“There was a farm over in Lewis County, and I helped out there,” Matilda said. “We went over and worked on weekends one year and it was a lot of fun. When we found this farm with level land, we knew that was what we wanted to do.”

Folks choosing a fresh tree need to remember to keep water in their tree and to check the level daily. Never let the water level go dry because if it does, the sap will seal the stump and not allow it to take water again. Keep the tree away from heat sources including vents, fireplaces and the television. Always use UL-listed lights – which indicates the lights are safe for consumers and businesses to use indoors – and check the condition of lights before putting them on your tree.

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!