Discover the magic of the season with a choose-and-cut Christmas tree adventure to the N.C. mountains of Jackson County. Visit a jolly elf village, sit on Santa’s lap, take a hay ride, and sip hot cocoa while you watch your prized tree get loaded onto your car.
The glory and luster of a hand-picked Christmas tree is the center of holiday revelry in every home. So make it yours with a journey right to the source. Jackson County is the land of Christmas trees, home to 70 tree farms and more than 3 million Christmas trees. Our high-elevation slopes are prime habitat for the Fraser Fir, considered the Cadillac of Christmas tree species for their crisp evergreen scent and long-lasting needles.
Check out our handy guide below to the top choose-and-cut Christmas Tree farms in the N.C. mountains of Jackson County. To kick-off the holiday season in style, turn your Christmas tree quest into a mountain getaway with stellar lodging choices, from cozy mountain cabins to resorts and brand hotels.
In the meantime, here’s 11 reasons to make a choose-and-cut experience part of your holiday tradition. Along with the perfect tree, you’ll bring home cherished memories to last a lifetime. Happy hunting!
Score the ultimate Christmas card photo
Still scrounging for the oh-so-perfect picture to put on your Christmas cards? Done. Nothing beats the scenic setting of a mountain Christmas tree farm. Imagine your family wrapped in colorful scarves atop a mountain mosaic of deep evergreen.
Tree farmers know this, of course, and stand at the ready to play photographer. No sooner than they see a phone come out of your pocket, they’ll be offering to take a group picture with your chosen tree.
Make it a road trip
Fire up your favorite tunes, aim your GPS on Jackson County and hit the open road. Your crew will be buzzing with contagious energy when the first glimpse of mountains come into view, giving way to sheer giddiness as you wind into the high country of Jackson County. So pack the Madlibs, queue up the Christmas soundtrack and relish the journey.
Save the planet
Win some serious green props by supporting the environmentally-sustainable choose-and-cut farms of Jackson County. Our small-scale tree farmers are stewards of more than 2,400 acres in active tree production. Christmas tree farms protect the landscape from development, preserve habitat and help keep the mountains wild.
Put patience in perspective
Next time you’re stuck at a stop light, trying taking the long-view of a tree farmer. Growing the perfect tree is an art form passed down through the generations. Trees are nurtured as saplings, then pruned and sheered and shaped as they grow, like bonsai trees on a grander scale. Farmers tend each tree for 7 to 12 years before it’s finally ready to claim its place of honor by your hearth. The rule of thumb is about a year of growth for every foot in height.
Get in touch with your inner elf
Don an elf hat and smock and enter the magical world of the North Pole with a trip to Tom Sawyer’s Tree Farm. After a jaunt to pick a tree, explore the only known elf village in the contiguous 48 — including a Christmas storytelling house, a craft cottage with make-and-take ornaments, and Santa’s hut. Kids who really want to drive their message home can write letters to the North Pole and mail them on the spot from a tiny elf post office.
Hone your style
Why stop with a tree? Fill your house with the fresh scent of Christmas by picking up wreaths, garlands, and arches. Several tree farms offer trimmings to make your own creations back home. If you’ve got an artistic streak, check with tree farms about onsite wreath-making classes during your visit.
Find your niche
No two snowflakes, no two fingerprints and no two Christmas trees are alike. Some are short and plump, some are tall and thin. Got vaulted ceilings? Find that 12-foot tree to fill it. Need to squish it in a corner? Pick one that’s obelisk-shaped. Showing it off in the front window? Go for the gold with a classic pyramid. Some tree farms even sell novelty trees, such as miniature trees for a table top or child’s room.
Skip the gym, guilt free
Tromping through the mountains on a quest for the perfect tree will earn you a get-out-of-jail-free card for next week’s gym time. For the extra burly, some tree farms will give you a whack at cutting your own tree, although the guys with chainsaws are never more than a whistle away.
You can always take a pass on hiking the stands of trees, however, and make your selection from the fresh pre-cut trees onsite.
Check Santa off your holiday to-do list
The choose-and-cut tree farms of Jackson County happen to be one of Santa’s favorite hang-outs during the holiday season, so forget the mall lines and bring your Christmas lists with you. Visiting with Santa in the fairytale setting of a Christmas tree farm will bring the magic to life.
Carry on tradition
Christmas tree farms have a storied legacy in the N.C. mountains of Jackson County. The industry can be traced back to the years just after World War II, when the Christmas tree became a household standard not just for the wealthy, but for every American.
By the 1970s, farmers across Jackson County had begun planting Christmas trees on the steeper high-elevation slopes where other crops didn’t grow as well. Christmas tree sales in Jackson County now top $4 million annually. Many of today’s Christmas tree farms are in their third generation, with families returning year after year as part of the living tradition.
Practice conflict resolution
The slopes of a choose-and-cut tree farm are an ideal training ground to master your mediation skills. Your daughter has a soft spot for the plump one with a bushy base and won’t stop hugging it, while your son is about to hand-cuff himself to a tree that’s far too tall for your 8-foot ceilings but has spoken to him nonetheless. Dad suggests just getting two.
Nine times out of 10, the final call belongs to mom, according to tree farmers who’ve seen it all. In the end, the tree will be a symbol of unity and the runner-up left behind will soon be forgotten over cookies and cocoa.
Choose-and-cut Christmas tree guide for the N.C. Mountains of Jackson County
Call ahead to confirm hours before your visit. Be warned: some choose-and-cut tree farms to sell out by early December, so book your visit early in the season!
Buck Knob Farm
Web site: www.buckknobfarm.com
Address: 1051 Wolf Knob Road, Glenville, N.C.
Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 24 and 25 and Dec. 2 and 3.
Chris Burrell Tree Farm
Web site: www.burrellchristmastreefarm.com
Address: Big Ridge Road, Glenville, N.C.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Nov. 20- Dec. 17.
Darrell Woodard Tree Farm
Address: 77 Fraser Fir Drive, Sylva, N.C.
Grandy Mountain Farm &
Address: 841 Breedlove Road, Cashiers, N.C.
Hutch’s Mountain Trees
Web site: www.hutchsmountaintrees.com
Address: 455 Lakeside Circle, Glenville, N.C.
Long Hollow Tree Farm
Address: 226 BB Long Road. Cullowhee, N.C.
Moss Tree Farm
Web site: www.mosstreefarm.com
Address: 1822 Norton Road, Cashiers, N.C.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 23-Nov. 26 and Dec. 2, 3 and 9; 1 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 11.
Pressley Tree Farm
Address: 770 Shirley Pressley Road, Glenville, N.C.
Tom Sawyer Tree Farm
Web site: www.tomsawyerchristmastreefarm.com
Address: 240 Chimney Pond Road, Glenville, N.C.
Hours: 1 to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays from Nov. 18-Dec. 10. Elf Village open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays from Nov. 18-Dec. 10.