Picking out a real or an artificial tree to put up for Christmastime depends on a person’s preference.

As far as Dan Berry and Tricia Darlage are concerned, real trees are the way to go.

Ever since they drove along East County Road 800N near Seymour a few years ago and spotted Wynn’s Christmas Tree Farm, they have returned there each year around the holidays to find the perfect trees.

The Seymour residents stopped by Saturday to purchase two trees and a couple of wreaths. While there, they also enjoyed hot drinks, talked to Santa Claus and visited with the Wynn family.

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“I just love the fresh smell,” Berry said of the trees. “And (the farm’s staff) provide really good service, and they are really nice. It’s just a great place to come and pick out a tree.”

One year, several inches of snow covered the ground and the trees, making the experience even better, he said.

“They drove us out to the field, and we picked one out and shook snow off of it,” Berry said. “That’s very different than pulling up next to the curb (at a local retailer) and picking one out.”

Darlage said she likes the family atmosphere, from the hot drinks and snacks to taking pictures as a family or with Santa Claus.

“They are a lot more knowledgeable on the types of trees and how to care for them,” she said. “They actually grow them, where you get them at the grocery store or something, they don’t know anything about them, and they can’t tell you what kind from the next what they are.”

Wynn’s is one of two Christmas tree farms in Jackson County. The other is Roberts Tree Farm at 9977 N. County Road 25E near Cortland.

Both farms opened the day after Thanksgiving and will remain open weekends through Christmas. Roberts is open from 11 a.m. to dark Fridays and Saturdays and from noon to dark Sundays or a custom appointment time can be made. Wynn’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Roberts Tree Farm, which has been around for about 32 years, sells white pine, Canaan fir, Fraser fir and Norway spruce. The white pines and Norway spruces can be balled and burlapped so they can be planted outdoors after the holiday.

Wynn’s Christmas Tree Farm, established about seven years ago, has Canaan fir, Fraser fir, Douglas fir, Scotch pine, white pine and blue spruce. Norway spruces and balsam firs have been been planted but aren’t yet ready to purchase.

Both local farms take pride in providing a welcoming environment.

“Number one is that we’re not selling a Christmas tree. We’re selling a tradition,” said Jerry Roberts, owner of Roberts Tree Farm.

A family visiting the farm Friday afternoon said it was their third time coming to the farm. The first year, they bought a balled and burlapped tree. Last year, they wanted a precut tree. This year, they went out in the field and picked out their own tree.

Roberts said nearly twice as many people are purchasing real trees today compared to 10 years ago.

Social media is a big reason family traditions have been established at Christmas tree farms, he said.

He encourages families to take pictures during their visit and share them on the business’ Facebook page. Then other people will see them and want to have the same experience.

“People look and they say, ‘Oh, there’s John and Susie, and they took their two kids out, and look at all of the fun they are having. They are in Santa Claus’ lap, and they are out on the tractor. Maybe that would be a good thing for us to do,'” Roberts said.

At the farm in the rural part of Hamilton Township, people can either take a wagon ride to pick out their own tree or choose from ones that already have been cut. In the log cabin, they can enjoy cider, popcorn and cookies, look at the selection of wreaths and other holiday decor and have pictures taken in a sleigh with Santa.

“There’s not very many nice family things left where you can take a 6-year-old and a 15-year-old and both of them enjoy it. There’s not many wholesome family activities left,” Roberts said. “That’s one of the things, people just really establish a tradition.”

The Wynn family said a visit to their farm in Redding Township is about making memories. They also post pictures of those visiting the farm on their Facebook page.

The clientele has grown every year, and it’s mainly families who have made it a tradition.

“We see a lot of the same folks, and we’ve seen a lot of new people this year,” said Bruce Wynn, who operates the business with his wife, Susan, children, Elizabeth Tape and Eli Wynn, and son-in-law, Lance Tape.

“We get some from Scottsburg, Louisville, Columbus, North Vernon, Medora. You never know where they are going to come from,” Bruce said.

Visiting the farm touches all of the senses, Susan said. That includes looking at all of the trees and smelling and touching them and tasting the hot drinks and snacks.

The reason they have offerings beyond just buying a Christmas tree is to allow families to make memories and establish traditions, Elizabeth said.

Each year, something new is added to make the experience a little bit different. This year, it’s scented pine cones.

“We went several different places before we had our own trees to get our trees,” she said of her family. “No matter if we wanted to go or not, we were going, but it was still fun. After the fact, we were happy that we went, and it was fun. Just the memories, I think, is the biggest thing.”

Lance said he hears positive comments from customers about their experience at the farm. It’s fun for the farm’s employees, too.

“We’ve seen a lot of people come out and come back year after year, and they really seem to enjoy it,” he said. “We really enjoy getting to share with them this experience every year, and we see a lot of familiar faces year after year. I feel like we’ve gotten to know several of them quite a bit.”

And when customers leave, the farm employees make sure to say, “Thanks for coming. Merry Christmas.”

At a glance

Roberts Tree Farm is at 9977 N. County Road 25E, Seymour. Hours are 11 a.m. to dark Fridays and Saturdays and noon to dark Sundays. You also may call 812-521-1902 to set up a custom appointment time. Santa will be there this Saturday and Sunday and Dec. 17 and 18. Information is available at robertstreefarm.com.

Wynn’s Christmas Tree Farm is at 10674 E. County Road 800N, Seymour. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Information is available by calling 812-521-3200 or visiting wynnschristmastreefarm.com.

At a glance

What you should bring to a Christmas tree farm

  • Dress warm and bring an umbrella just in case.
  • A rope to secure the tree to your vehicle.
  • A drop cloth to catch needles and protect from resin residue.
  • A camera to take pictures with your tree and with Santa Claus.

How to take care of your tree

  • Immediately before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk.
  • Position the tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source, such as fireplaces, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Be sure the Christmas tree is not blocking any exits.
  • Be sure to add water daily.
  • Tree stands should be large enough to hold 1 quart of water per inch of tree trunk diameter. A 3-inch trunk will require 3 quarts of water.

Source: wynnschristmastreefarm.com

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Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.