For some families, stomping through the snow and fighting over which Christmas tree to pick is annual holiday season journey — and in Hartland, the trip doesn't have to be that far.
Pies Trees, 4249 Fenton Road, M&M Christmas Tree Farm, 6501 Denton Hill Road in Tyrone Township and Spicer Orchards Farm Market and Cider Mill, 10411 Clyde Road, are a few area businesses that offer the real McCoy.
"I think it means to people, basically tradition," said Tim Pies, owner of Pies Trees. "I think a lot of people like the smell of the house with a real tree compared to a fake tree."
Owners of M&M Christmas Tree Farm, David and Barb Walker know the importance of a good tree as well as the importance of giving back during the holidays. The Walkers — members of the Hartland Rotary — will open their tree farm an extra day this weekend on Sunday from 1 p.m. to dusk to raise funds to help local seniors buy prescriptions and for area needy families.
"We feel there is a great need for seniors who are having difficulty with their prescriptions," Rotary club president Karen Crouse said. "Having to give up something else or go with less food, or whatever the case may be, in order to acquire their prescription."
M&M Tree Farm hours are 9 a.m. to dusk on Saturdays during the holiday season. This Sunday, however, volunteers from Rotary will be helping cut, haul and load trees of choice, with customers and volunteers alike helping out the Hartland community. All tree sizes will be $50.
"We are hoping that this event will be a big success, and that we can alleviate some of the anxiety our seniors face because of the financial demand prescriptions place on their finances," Crouse said. "In addition, 25 percent of the donations received will go to help needy families in the area."
And for both of these local tree farm owners, simple fun is their motto and what their repeat customers enjoy about the experience.
"We don't do much hay rides or anything," Pies said. "And people actually kind of like that, just walking around. We thought about expanding that area, but they just like the little bonfire we set up."
Pies and his business partner Marlan Flatt originally began planting on Pies family land in 2000 with landscaping in mind. Eventually, however, they decided that Christmas trees would be a better fit and they now sell around 250 trees a season. The business is open Friday afternoons and on Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to dusk with all trees $45.
So, whether it's a long-standing family tradition or a new one, local tree farmers do have some advice, as well, in making the tough decision on a tree:
"Be careful how big you pick one out," said David Walker. "Sometimes they look a lot smaller out here than they do when you're trying to squeeze it through the door of your house."
Editor's note: The address of Pies Trees was updated Dec. 11 to correct inaccurate information supplied to Hartland Patch.