Still don't have a fresh-cut Christmas tree for your home?
There are a couple of places in Grayslake to get one—Villiard's Trees at Routes 83 and 120, and at the St. Gilbert Knights of Columbus lot at Route 120 and Lake Street.
The Christmas tree rush started the day after Thanksgiving, said Roger Villiard, whose family has owned and operated a fruit stand and tree market at Routes 83 and 120 for more than 40 years.
Though the fruit stand closed in 2001, they remain a favorite location for loyal customers to get their Christmas trees year after year.
"It's a lot of fun. I really enjoy talking to the people," said Villiard, who knows more than a few things about Christmas trees.
For example, advised Villiard, cats don't care for Scotch pines; white pines are beautiful but too delicate to hold heavier ornaments; and you should keep your tree in a 72-degree home, watering only the first two or three days because after that it really won't hold any more. Do this, he said, and it should last "well after New Year's."
With so many options, picking out a Christmas tree can sometimes make you feel like you're in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Any given tree can either be too short, too tall, too bald, too bushy or have a myriad of other problems.
So how can you tell which tree is the right one for you? To help select your favorite tree, the characteristics of the more popular species are listed below.
Douglas-fir: This tree is generally available as a sheared tree and is the most common species found on tree lots.
It has a nice fragrance and a medium-to-good shelf life. Because of the thick, bushy crowns, they do not lend themselves to large or heavy decorations.
This species is the easiest to grow because it is relatively problem-free. It requires seven to eight years to mature as a Christmas tree.
Noble fir: This species is considered the “Cadillac” of Christmas trees. It grows in a more open pattern, has stout branches, luxurious green needles, a long shelf life and a nice fragrance. It is popular with families that have large or heavy ornaments.
It is the most expensive tree because it takes eight to ten years to mature and is the most difficult species to grow.
Grand fir: This sheared tree is the most fragrant of the native species. It has an attractive needle that makes it a popular choice as a flocked tree.
Grand fir trees require eight to nine years to grow and have a medium shelf life.
Fraser fir: This North Carolina native has strong branches that will hold heavier ornaments. The needles have a pleasant fragrance and a long shelf life comparable to a noble fir.
Fraser fir trees are difficult to grow because of the many pests that threaten them. They require eight to 10 years before they are ready for harvest.
Norway and blue spruce trees: These are generally available only at choose-and-cut farms. They will hold heavy decorations. Some consumers think they are child- and pet-proof because of the stiff, prickly needles.
Spruces require eight to nine years to mature as Christmas trees and have a medium shelf life.
Tips for caring for your tree:
Once you make it home with your tree, cut one-quarter inch off the butt and place the tree in a water stand. The stand should be large enough to hold at least one gallon of water after the tree is placed in it. Check the water level daily. A typical six-foot tall tree can drink one gallon of water each day and remain fresh for two to three weeks.
Villiard's Trees is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through next weekend. They sell a variety of trees and fresh wreaths, with prices $35 and up.
The St. Gilbert Knights of Columbus will be selling their trees 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 21. Prices are $40-$100 and Mastercard and Visa are accepted.
Want to cut your own Christmas tree? There are two tree farms in Lake Villa—Gengel Tree Farm at 38614 N. Fairfield Road and Sullivan Family Tree Farm at 24774 Petite Lake Road.
Where to Cut Your Own Christmas Tree
TELL US: Where did you buy or cut your Christmas tree? What kind is it? Share in the comments below.