Deck the Halls: Gathering your holiday greenery in Summit County
When it comes to holiday decoration, you’ve got to get the green. Whether you’re sprucing up your primary residence, second home or vacation condo, it’s just not the holidays without trees, wreaths and garlands galore. Luckily, the mountains are full of options for evergreen embellishment. We’ve pulled together some information that will get you started.
Your tree options are pretty much endless here in Summit County, whether you want to hike into the woods and saw it down yourself, or if you want to skip the hassle altogether and put up a non-synthetic version. It all depends on how much time and money you want to spend, and how important it is for you to have the piney scent of fir or spruce floating around the living room or foyer.
Do It Yourself
Cutting your own Christmas tree can be a fun experience for the whole family. It gets everyone out into the fresh air, provides some exercise (perhaps much needed during this time of constant holiday snacks) and allows yet another opportunity to bask in the natural beauty of the Colorado mountains.
The White River National Forest allows Christmas tree cutting with a permit in certain areas. You can pick up a permit for $10 (limit five per person) and a map showing tree-cutting areas from the Dillon Ranger District office located at 680 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne (across the street from Target). The station is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Permits will be sold through Friday, Dec. 22, and there is a maximum of five tree permits per person.
If you can’t get to the ranger station, this year Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply located at 1241 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne will also be selling Christmas tree permits starting Nov. 24 until Dec. 22. Murdoch’s is open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
You may also go online and print a Christmas tree permit form to fill out and mail in with a check to receive your permit in the mail. To do so please visit: bit.ly/WRNFtreepermit.
Guidelines for cutting your tree require that the tree be less than 15 feet tall from the stump, may not be greater than 6 inches in diameter at the base of the tree, with a stump height no greater than 6 inches.
If you don’t feel like tromping out into the wilderness, Neils Lunceford, Inc. is one of your best bets for a fresh Christmas tree. Once the holiday season rolls around, the company’s lot fills with firs and spruce imported from tree farms all over the country. For those who can’t tell the difference from one evergreen to another, employees are on hand to describe the qualities and characteristics of each species.
“Almost all firs are conductive to Christmas trees, because they’re conical and soft,” says Neils Lunceford managing partner Tim Glasco. He suggests a full-bodied Frasier fir, which he refers to as “the Cadillac of Christmas trees.”
Tree hunters have two options when they come to Neils Lunceford: cut trees or live trees. A cut tree is your traditional tree that’s set up with a stand indoors and then thrown out to be recycled or mulched at the end of the season. A live tree comes in a pot, ready to be re-planted once the holiday season is over and the ground has thawed.
There are advantages to both types. A cut tree will be taller, anywhere between 4 and 10 feet, while a potted tree will stand between 3 and 5 feet in height. A cut tree can go anywhere in your home, whereas a potted tree is better left outside, perhaps on a deck, Glasco suggested, to avoid any soil dripping onto the floor. A live tree, however, won’t drop dead needles everywhere and will remain in the yard as a living reminder of your holiday season.
If you’re not interested in managing a full tree, cut or living, or if you or a family member have allergies that prevent pervasive evergreens, then a fake tree is the way to go. Big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target have trees-in-a-box for decent prices. Fake trees come in all shapes and sizes — firs, spruce, frosted needles, etc. Once the lights and ornaments on, it will be hard to tell the difference from a real tree!
Another benefit of a fake tree is sustainability, in using the same tree year after year.
Regardless of what type of tree you choose, be sure to bring in friends and family members to help with the decorations, and make this holiday season one to remember!
Wreaths and Garlands
Now that you’ve got the tree figured out, it’s time to turn to the walls and mantelpiece. Wreaths and garlands are a great way to make a room festive, either as a complement to the tree or in place of one. The fun thing about wreaths and garlands is that the possibilities for decoration and embellishment are essentially endless.
Both Neils Lunceford and The Christmas Store have materials for wreaths and garlands on hand, from completely unadorned to completely bedecked with festive holiday spirit.
Some of the most popular embellishments for wreaths and garlands are pinecones and holly berries, Shirley said.
“We have lots of options in the store for decorating. We have lots of ideas we can help you with.”
She also suggested putting ornaments on them as well. That way, the ornaments that didn’t make it on the tree this year don’t need to go back in the box.
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