Fresh or Fake?

We invested in a “permanent” tree long before I realized that San Diego has several Christmas tree farms where families can wander and search for the perfect tree to cut and take home.


my tree

We really love our tree. It’s ready for holiday decorating whenever we are, it is always beautifully shaped with reinforced branches that can hold any ornament without drooping, it never loses needles and even smells nice thanks to the scent-cicles we hang.

But it certainly would feel more “Christmas-y” each year to journey out to one of the four farms within an hour drive from San Diego. They each open the day after Thanksgiving and feature U-cut Monterey Pines as well as other varieties of freshly cut and potted/plantable trees.


House Evergreen Farm in Alpine boasts trees over 10 feet tall and complimentary candy canes.

Pine Tree Acres in Ramona hosts a party jump each weekend, ornament and cookie decorating, games, pony rides, a petting zoo and visits with Santa. Some activities require a small fee. Weekends through December 12th.

Highland Valley Christmas Tree Farm in Ramona offers military families a 20% discount and has trees starting at $8 per foot.

Family Christmas Tree Farm in El Cajon features hay rides and farm animals for the kids to enjoy.


We don’t need a real Christmas tree, but many of our readers do, so I am super excited to give one San Diego family the opportunity to visit the farm of their choice and select a U-cut tree of their own, compliments of The Mom’s Guide to San Diego.


For your chance to win, please comment here with your favorite holiday memory from your childhood or as a parent. One winner will be selected on Thanksgiving day, just in time to be first at the Christmas tree farm!

P.S. Please share with a family who is especially deserving this holiday season. 🙂




12 thoughts on “Fresh or Fake?

  1. momsguide says:

    Thank you to everyone who shared a childhood memory! I love hearing what makes the holidays special. Aren’t we lucky to have kids of our own and create traditions for them? Good thing we didn’t have to select a winner based on content … each story is so sweet! We randomly select our winners each time and this contest was won by Cyndi W.! Congrats Cyndi. Please check your email for details on how to collect your prize!

  2. Cerise Stadther says:

    My favorite thing growing up was making Christmas cookies with my mom

  3. Susan says:

    My mom always gave us ornaments for special occasions, and we would search for the perfect ornament to bring home from every trip we went on. Now, decorating the tree is extra special because I have all these ornaments from my childhood and other family members and every year my husband and kids have to listen to me tell the story of each one.

  4. Joyce says:

    One of my favorite holiday memories/traditions was having a huge family dinner with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, siblings, and friends at my grandparents’ house. After dinner, the grandkids would run around and play. My grandpa always had the fireplace one even if it was a 70-80 degree Christmas in San Diego. Then we would head to church afterwards. After a short church service, Santa would come into the church hall. Every child would take a turn going to sit on his lap and after a photo and chat with Santa, every child got a big candy cane. This doesn’t sound like anything unique but over the years as the family has gotten bigger, grandparents have gone, and church activities have changed, somehow this tradition is no longer a tradition. 🙁 Now that I have my own family, maybe it is time I start new Christmas traditions. Maybe going to get a fresh cut tree every year or ???

  5. Stacey says:

    My favorite memory was getting up WAY too early and taking our stockings into our parents’ bedroom. We’d all pile in together and slowly go through our loot. As a parent, I now know they appreciated the chance to stay in bed a little while longer!
    I think my kids’ favorite memory will be remembering when the tree flew off our car last year as we were driving home! It was close to home and no one else was on the road, so we had a great laugh over it, especially as our neighbor drove by and saw us lashing it down again.

  6. Jennie C. says:

    One of my favorite little moments about Christmas when I was a child was going to open gifts from Santa only to see that the gifts were not just from him. I would get gifts from Mrs. Claus, elves, Rudolph and other reindeer. I now do it with my kids. My mom also started collecting ornaments (1 a year) so when I had my own tree I would be able to decorate it with those ornaments. I’ve started a collection for Myles’s too.

  7. Sonia hildebrandt says:

    My favorite memory was with my dad. We had always bought a real tree but one year they started getting to expensive. I was so sad since I love the smell of real Christmas trees. My dad knew how sad I was and took me out for a drive. He had found a Christmas tree farm where you cut it down yourself. He said I could pick out any tree but I had to do the hard work and cut it. It was so much fun running around finding the perfect tree and messy fun cutting it down. I would love to do it again but this time with my son.

  8. Jennifer B says:

    My favorite part of Christmas with my boys is going to pick out our tree and then decorating it. We have been going to Family Christmas Tree Farm for years and love it. My boys love running around, searching for and fighting over picking the best tree. Then we always decorate it together as a family while listening to Christmas music. The ornaments usually end up bunched together, but they are proud of the work that they have done. It fills my heart with so much joy. It’s not about the presents under that beautiful tree, it’s about being with my wonderful family and making memories year after year.

  9. Rachel emens says:

    My favorite childhood memory was when I really thought I saw Santa in my hallway on Christmas night. I’m sure it was my dad but that night I really believed it was Santa. My dad use to have the neighbor write beautiful letters to me from the North Pole every Christmas which also really made me believe in all the Christmas magic even more…

  10. Carrie P says:

    One year when our presents were a little on the big side, my mom wrapped a note instead of the presents. We both happened to open the note box at the same time and read the instructions. Then we both were running around the house following the clues to find our present. It was so much fun and I hope to do that for my kids someday.

  11. Brittany foreman says:

    My favorite childhood memory as a child was spending an entire night decorating our house with Christmas music on and the grinch in background. Now that my son is 3 I will be making his Christmas even more magical than we did the last couple years

  12. Cyndi W. says:

    Christmas really took special meaning when I became a mom. Although there were many special moments while watching my son experience Christmas for the past 2 years, the most amazing part was having my husband off from work and home to share it with us! There is no greater joy than to have my immediate little family sharing the day together. I am so sad that he has to work this year, but we’ll be celebrating a day early on Christmas eve. We love the Family Christmas Tree Farm in El Cajon! We try to support local small business when we can! Thank you for the opportunity!

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