A parent and a child walk hand-in-hand through a Christmas tree farm

Where to Buy a Christmas Tree Near Chicago & Why Farmers Plant Trees

Are you looking for a real tree for the holidays? Then you’re in luck. Start a new fun family tradition by visiting one of the many tree farms near Chicago to buy or even cut down your own Christmas tree.

Artificial trees certainly have their place, but not much beats the experience of visiting a Christmas tree farm – plus the fact that real trees are a sustainable choice. Farmers appreciate your support, too, and are passionate about providing local products and experiences for other families to enjoy.

Why farmers plant their own trees

While Christmas trees add festivity to our houses and yards for the season, farmers are motivated to improve their landscapes by planting their own trees in order to create long-term environmental benefits. Protecting the environment is something farmers care deeply about; sustaining natural resources is critical to a farm’s success.

Take two pig farmers, Gary Asay and Taylor Wildermuth, who both raise pigs in western Illinois. In 2018, Gary planted tree buffers around his farm and installed solar panels so his pig barns could run completely off of solar energy. And Taylor added a tree buffer full of Colorado blue spruce trees, sourced from a local tree farm, to provide a windbreak for the farm buildings in the winter and create habitat for wildlife.

In addition to reducing their farm’s carbon footprint by over two-thirds through other improvements, dairy farmer Lorilee Schultz planted 220 native oak and pine species on her farm for several reasons: provide shade for cattle, help prevent soil erosion, preserve biodiversity by providing habitat for wildlife, purify the air, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by capturing carbon and releasing oxygen.

Tree buffers are just one of the current best management practices that farmers are embracing to benefit the environment. It turns out, trees look great lit up in your living room, but they’re also a beneficial on-farm feature, too.

Buying a Christmas tree

So, where to buy a Christmas tree in the greater Chicago-area? Check out these eight tree farms, all within 1.5 hours of downtown Chicago. Can’t make it to a Christmas tree farm, but curious what one is like? Take a “virtual” trip to Helmig Christmas Tree Farm near Bloomington.

McCarthy Farms | Orland Park  

Offers Christmas trees and decorated wreaths. McCarthy Farms is located 50 minutes from downtown Chicago.

Puckerville Farms | Lemont  

Offers Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands. Puckerville Farms is located 50 minutes from downtown Chicago.

Gorman Tree Farm | Monee  

They grow Fraser fir, Douglas fir, scotch pine, concolor fir and white pine trees. Gorman Tree Farm is 55 minutes from downtown Chicago.

Winding Creek Nursery & Garden Center | Millbrook  

Offers pre-cut Christmas trees, plus wreaths, garlands, and other greenery items. Winding Creek Nursery & Garden Center is 1 hour, 10 minutes from downtown Chicago.

Camelot Christmas Tree Farm | DeKalb  

Cut down your own tree or choose pre-cut. They grow Fraser fir, concolor fir, Douglas fir, scotch pine, balsam fir, blue spruce, white pine and Canaan fir. Camelot Christmas Tree Farm is 1 hour, 15 minutes from downtown Chicago.

Richardson Farm | Spring Grove  

Cut down your own Fraser fir, Canaan fir, white pine, concolor fir, Douglas fir or Norway spruce. Free hot chocolate or coffee, fresh fudge, and, on the weekend only, donuts and kettle corn. Richardson Farm is 1 hour, 15 minutes from downtown Chicago.

Ben’s Christmas Tree Farm | Harvard  

Offers Scotch pine, Norway spruce, white pine, Fraser fir, Canaan fir, balsam fir, Colorado blue spruce, white spruce, wreaths and garlands. See farm animals and even enjoy a visit from Santa Claus. Plus, they serve complimentary coffee and hot cocoa will bale your tree for free. Ben’s Christmas Tree Farm is 1 hour, 20 minutes from downtown Chicago.

Live trees can be a smart sustainable choice, both on the farm and in your home. Once you have your Christmas tree, continue the holiday festivities with this recipe for Christmas cookies.