Singing carols, baking cookies and visiting Santa Claus are all holiday traditions that continue today. This year, families are heading outdoors for another tradition — cutting down their own Christmas tree.
Here are five locations out east where Long Islanders can chop down their Tannenbaum while enjoying additional seasonal activities:
VISIT THE BARN SHOP AND MAGIC FOREST AT DART’S CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
Celebrating its 50th season, Dart’s Christmas Tree Farm in Southold offers 8-acres of Fraser fir trees ranging 5 to 10 feet waiting for families to freshly cut them.
"Cutting down your own Christmas tree is a multigenerational wholesome family experience," says owner Ed Dart. "Grandparents arrive with their adult children and their grandchildren. The whole gang comes."
After cutting down your tree, grab a hot chocolate or grill your own pretzel braids over an open fire. Those seeking a handmade wreath ($50-$150) can visit the Barn Shop. But don’t leave without taking some selfies in the Magic Color Forest among the pink, purple, magenta and turquoise trees ($10 per person).
WHEN | WHERE 9 a.m.-5 p.m. open daily through Dec. 24; 2355 Main Bayview Road, Southold
INFO 631-369-1300, dartschristmastreefarm.com
TREE COST $99.95-$200
SIT BY THE FIRE PIT AT PAUL’S CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
Take your pick among the 5-acres of trees at Paul’s Christmas Tree Farm in Center Moriches to cut down a Norway spruce, white spruce, Douglas fir, white pine or blue spruce.
"Cutting down your own tree has gotten more popular over the last few years," says owner Paul Vigliotta. "Often, everybody in the family takes a turn cutting. Parents like to create a memory for their children."
Warm up by the fire pit and enjoy some free hot chocolate and popcorn then head over Something Special by Sue to shop for wreaths, garland, tree toppers, hand-painted ornaments, hand saws and circular saw blades plus stain glass items.
WHEN/WHERE 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily; 240 Frowein Road, Center Moriches
INFO 631-878-8645, facebook.com/PaulsChristmasTreeFarm
TREE COST $15 a foot
ICE SKATE AND S'MORES AT SANTA’S CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
Going to Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Cutchogue is like taking a trip to the North Pole between the tree selection and surrounding festive fun.
"People tag the tree they want and they can cut it down themselves with saws we provide," says owner Stacey Soloviev. "It’s a very nostalgic activity."
Once a tree is picked, there’s a wide variety of activities to partake in such as a hayride ($2 per person), synthetic skating ($5 per person), a Christmas-themed bounce house ($5 per person), pony rides ($10), free photos with Santa Claus or making your own s’mores ($6 for two).
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; 30105 Main Road (Route 25), Cutchogue
INFO 631-735-9242, santaschristmastreefarmli.com
TREE COST $90
SLEIGH 'RIDE' AT MATT’S CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
Over at Matt’s Christmas Tree Farm in Manorville visitors can walk the 15-acres picking out a Christmas tree to cut down ranging from Norway spruce to white spruce to blue spruce to balsam fir.
"The spruces tend to be stiffer and sturdier while the firs are much softer," says owner Matt Marple. "The firs give off more of a scent but the spruces hold ornaments better."
There are even designated areas for people to take holiday photos.
"We have an antique wooden sleigh that holds two little kids, a big red tractor you can sit on, a mailbox for letters to Santa as well as an old shed with a 48" wreath in front," says Marple.
WHEN | WHERE 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday, Wednesday-Sunday until Dec. 24; 305 Weeks Ave., Manorville
INFO 631-875-1465, mattschristmastreefarm.com
TREE COST $14 per foot
FARMERS MARKET AT SHAMROCK CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
For the past 34 years, Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm in Mattituck has sold cut-your-own Douglas fir trees ranging from 6 to 9 feet along its 24-acres.
"Visitors don’t need to bring anything. We supply everything," says owner Joe Shipman. "We want everyone to leave with a quality tree to display in their home."
Shop at the Farmers Market on weekends featuring local vendors selling hand-crafted cider, wine, jerky, pickles, potato chips as well as fresh clams and oysters from the shores of Shelter Island. The Snack Barn offers treats like hot chocolate, NY-style pretzels, hot dogs and soup.
Take a 14-minute train ride ($5 per person) around the perimeter of the farm or visit with Santa Claus as live Christmas carols play.
WHEN | WHERE 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Dec. 24; 20685 Main Road, Mattituck
INFO 631-298-4619, shamrockchristmastreefarm.com
TREE COST Trees are priced individually on-site