Christmas tree farm

Where to buy a Christmas tree + why farmers plant their own

Are you a fan of buying a real tree for the holidays? Then you’re in luck. Even though this year might not be Christmas as usual, you can still maintain – or create – fun family traditions, like visiting a tree farm 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.

  • Wagner Farms | Glenview | Facebook
    • Fresh cut trees, evergreen wreaths, holiday décor
    • 30 minutes from downtown
  • McCarthy Farms | Orland Park | Facebook
    • Christmas trees and decorated wreaths
    • 50 minutes from downtown
  • Puckerville Farms | Lemont | Website
    • Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands
    • 50 minutes from downtown
  • Gorman Tree Farm | Monee | Website
    • Fraser fir, Douglas fir, scotch pine, concolor fir and white pine
    • 55 minutes from downtown
  • Winding Creek Nursery & Garden Center | Millbrook | Website
    • Pre-cut Christmas trees, plus wreaths, garlands, and other greenery items
    • 1 hour, 10 minutes from downtown
  • Camelot Christmas Tree Farm | DeKalb | Facebook
    • Cut down your own or choose pre-cut: Fraser fir, concolor fir, Douglas fir, scotch pine, balsam fir, blue spruce, white pine, Canaan fir
    • 1 hour, 15 minutes from downtown
  • Richardson Farm | Spring Grove | Website
    • Cut down your own: Fraser fir, Canaan fir, white pine, concolor fir, Douglas fir, Norway spruce
    • Free hot chocolate or coffee, fresh fudge, and, on the weekend only, donuts and kettle corn
    • 1 hour, 15 minutes from downtown
  • Ben’s Christmas Tree Farm | Harvard | Website
    • Scotch pine, Norway spruce, white pine, Fraser fir, Canaan fir, balsam fir, Colorado blue spruce, white spruce; wreaths and garlands; farm animals; Santa Claus visits
    • Complimentary coffee and hot cocoa; free bailing of trees
    • 1 hour, 20 minutes from downtown