Frugal Christmas Tip: The $20 Tree

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It’s a problem every year:  I want to spend my money on presents and egg nog, but my house never quite feels Christmas-y enough without a tree. And Christmas trees are expensive! I’ve tried a few different things — the dinky Charlie Brown option; the fake tinsel tree; that one time when my dad and I illegally cut down a tree from a state park (don’t tell on me!). But this year I’ve found the optimal solution.

The good news: Clemsonville Christmas Tree Farm is possibly the most adorable place ever. You can wander through 250 acres of trees, trying to find the one that calls out to you and then chop it down yourself — there’s a unexpected primal thrill, even when it’s only a skinny 6-footer. You can enjoy free cookies and punch. You can chat with farmer Michael Ryan, who is gracious and can help you out if your car happens to get stuck in the mud. Hypothetically. Oh, and all trees under 14 feet are $20. No exceptions. I’m looking at our gorgeous 11-footer right now, and I’m pleased as punch.  The cons? Driving to Clemsonville, which is a bit outside of Frederick. Sure, it’s not convenient — but you’ll certainly save enough on the tree to cover gas. Plus, it’s a real holiday experience.

Bonus Frugal Xmas Tip:  The Pennsylvania Dutch Market in Cockeysville sells ridiculously cheap cinnamon sticks.  Like, a bag of 30 for under $3.

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  1. What a great way to spend a December day! We have done live trees (bulky, heavy, and hard to plant in January soil) and Ikea trees (return for recycling – join the crowd) but find a day in the countryside, and wandering a few acres of trees to find one to cut – that’s a good time. I suggest a small bow saw instead of an axe, and take your time in picking it out.

    By the way, my map program doesn’t find a town of Clemsonville; but the tree farm link in the article has the address near Union Mills – mid-way between Frederick and Westminster. And an adventure has no need of being convenient! 😉

  2. The town really is called Clemsonville — the owners of the tree farm will provide you with many pamphlets detailing the history of the farm, the area, etc. if you seem even remotely interested. The Clemsons who founded Clemson University also founded Clemsonville.

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