Cut-your-own Christmas tree farms grow tradition, holiday cheer

Carroll County kicks off holiday season with cut-your-own Christmas trees

With December fully underway, Carroll countians hit the farms Saturday to pick out and chop down their Christmas trees.

And for most of them, the ritual brought one word to mind: tradition.


Stephanie Schmitt, of Westminster, was out at Hirt Tree Farm, 917 Arnold Rd. in Westminster, on Saturday with her husband, Justin, and their two children, Lucy, 4, and Piper, 1. It was their first time at Hirt Tree Farm, although the family go and get a fresh tree every year for the holiday.

“I grew up always getting live trees,” Schmitt said. “Since we’ve had [the kids] we’ve been making it a tradition,” she added.

Getting a real tree really makes Christmas what it is, she said. And while the Schmitt family is making it a tradition, for Justin Schmitt, getting a live tree is a newer holiday ritual. He didn’t grow up doing it, he said.

But now, he added, it’s something he loves and wants to continue.

“I can’t see doing it any other way now,” he said.

And, for the Westminster family, it’s a tradition that starts off the holiday season right. After cutting down their tree, the foursome planned to spend the weekend getting everything decorated.

Kristin and Ralph Cullison, who came out Saturday with their sons Max, 7, and Ben, 9, were also using the weekend to start getting into the Christmas spirit. This was the second year the Cullison family came out to Hirt Tree Farm, and said they had such a good time the previous year, they had to come back.

The family lives in Eldersburg, so the farm is close. And, she said, it’s a time for the kids to get outside and run in the fresh air, something Max reiterated.

“It’s fun and [the trees] smell good,” he added.

In Saturday’s sunshine, Hirt Tree Farm was buzzing with activities as families came to pick out their tree. Some came in couples, some in small families and some came in large extended families with multiple generations. A few dogs even made their way through the rows and rows of trees.

But the Westminster farm wasn’t the only place that was busy. About 30 minutes northwest of Hirt Tree Farm, Sewell’s Farm, 3400 Harney Rd. in Taneytown, had it’s own rush of people getting a jump in the Christmas season.

All Sewell’s has to offer, from a wide range of trees to the Christmas shop with ornaments, decorations and more, is what has brought Mary Michanco, of Sterling, Virginia, to the Carroll County farm for nearly two decades.

“The people are friendly [and] the tree selection is excellent,” Michanco said.

Michanco also said tradition plays a large role in why she gets a live tree each year. While the farms may have changed over the years, the live tree has remained a Christmas staple.


“It’s something I remember all my life,” she added.

And despite the 75 minute drive up to Sewell’s, the farm and the experience makes up for it.

“It’s worth the drive,” Michanco added.