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Tradition of cutting one’s own Christmas tree endures

Keeping with family traditiPhil Harreld Highltakes picture his kids next their chosen tree before cutting it down Luers Christmas Tree

Keeping with family tradition, Phil Harreld of Highland takes a picture of his kids next to their chosen tree before cutting it down at Luers Christmas Tree Farm in Crown Point, Ind. Friday November 23, 2012. From left are Sarya, 10; 21-month-old twins Kora and Monica, and Cambria, 3, mom Sara Harreld is not visible. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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Where to find trees

Contact individual farms for tree types and amenities including Santa visits, hayrides and concessions.

Luers Christmas Tree Farm, 6303 W. 91st Ave. For more information visit www.luestreefarm.com. Open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Santa’s Holiday Forest, 95 E. 700N, Valparaiso, 462-1068. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Egolf Christmas Trees Inc., 14594 S. 700W, Wanatah, 733-2143. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Guse Tree Farm, 14685 S. 600W, Wanatah, 733-9346. 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Kapitan Nursery, 4303 Harms Road, Merrillville, 942-8156. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Twin Spruce Christmas Tree Farm, 3122 W. 1450N, Wheatfield, 956-4449. 8 a.m. to dusk Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays.

Kingma Christmas Tree Farm, 8901 W. 100N, DeMotte, 877-269-8989. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays.

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Updated: December 27, 2012 6:12AM



CROWN POINT — Families braved a cold strong wind Friday to be sure they had the pick of the Christmas tree crop.

Armed with bow saws and bundled from head to toe, they trekked through Luers Christmas Tree Farm in Crown Point to find the perfect tree in what for many is a long-standing family tradition.

“Every year we come out and pick a tree,” said Sara Harrold of Highland. Harrold, her husband, Phil, and their four daughters, Sarya, 10, Cambria, 3, and 21-month-old twins Monica and Kora, were making their way through the rows of trees looking for the right one. This year is the first the twins could walk and be more a part of the festivities.

Harrold said their perfect tree is the right height and width and not too skinny.

“We need some meat on our tree,” Harrold said.

Sarya, the oldest, shared her mom’s preference in Christmas trees and said she enjoys the farm.

“I like to pick the tree ’cause it’s different every year. It’s kind of unique,” she said.

Once the family finds their tree — this year a 6-foot-plus spruce with a nice full body — they commemorate the moment with a picture of the girls standing in front of it.

“We always take a picture before we cut it down,” Harrold said.

Doug Luers said this is a good year for fresh Christmas trees. The farm grows more than 10 different varieties of trees including favorites like Scotch pine, Douglas fir and blue spruce on 50 acres. At any given time there are about 40,000 different trees from which to choose.

“We let you borrow our bow saw. You can walk out or drive out and cut down whatever you like,” Luers said. For those who don’t want to do the work, a variety of fresh trees that do not grow well in Indiana soil, like the Fraser fir, are brought in from Michigan. On the weekends the farm has a warming station with concessions.

The Short family of Illinois has been cutting their own fresh Christmas tree since Janet and Pat Short of Chicago Ridge first wed more than two decades ago. When the farm they visited in Oregon, Ill., closed four years ago, they began coming to Luers.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time. We really make a whole day of it,” Janet Short said. The whole family gets into the action.

Three generations of Shorts were meeting up at the farm Friday to get their family trees. The couple’s daughter, Katy Short, and her boyfriend, Martin Vega, of Elk Grove Village, Ill., just finished cutting their first Christmas tree for first new home together. Their grandson, Michael Short, 7, was getting a head start on picking a tree as he waited for his parents to arrive.

“I want a small one for my bedroom and a big one for the living room,” Michael said.

Pat said cutting a tree has become the family tradition.

“We’ve been cutting fresh trees for 25 years,” Pat chimed in. “It’s a part of Christmas.”



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