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In search of your just-right Christmas tree

In search of your just-right Christmas tree

  • Updated

Crossen Christmas Tree Farm is a holiday wonderland boasting over 12,000 trees for the choosing.

Crossen Christmas Tree Farm started as a high school project. Robert Crossen was assigned to develop a business plan in one of his classes. He thought up a Christmas tree farm and never let himself forget it. (He even remembers the teacher’s name—shout out to Mr. Mruk!).

Years later, when there was an opportunity to purchase part of his grandparent’s farm in Basom, New York, Robert knew just what to do. He bought it with his wife, Sharon, and the couple planted their first 1,200 trees.

The farm now sits on five acres of land and boasts over 12,000 trees, a large selection of wreaths and a store for all your holiday decorating needs.

It’ll take you 37-ish minutes to get there from Buffalo. It’s past Pembroke but before Batavia along Route 77. It’s a hamlet in Genesee County, which is a community within a town, but not a village. All of this is to say, when you arrive at Crossen Christmas Tree Farm, they know it’s likely your main stop of the trip. So, they are committed to delivering the full Hallmark movie experience.

As soon as you close your car door, you’ll notice evergreen triangles as far as the eye can see. It’s a year-round labor of love to get the farm this picturesque for December, especially in the summer.

In June, Robert is rotating sprinklers every two hours, even in the middle of the night, to get every tree the water it needs. In August, he trims to get that classic silhouette and the critical lead branch, where the star is placed.

To appreciate this impeccable attention to detail, head out in the field. The best part? The farm has everything you need to chop one of these homegrown beauties down—the old-fashioned way. They’ll supply you with saws, wheeling carts and even sleds to help as you search for The One.

But there’s also room to choose your own adventure.

If you start sawing and discover it’s harder than it looks, there is plenty of expert staff on hand to help you finish the job. And no matter what, every tree is given a fresh cut at checkout to ensure it lasts as long as possible. The farm also has a selection of pre-cut trees for those who enjoy a scenic ride to the country but don’t want to head into the field and cut down their own.

With this many perfectly shaped trees, there is no shortage of decisions to be made while you’re there. Crossen provided tips and trick:

  • Measure your ceiling height. Considering the stand and topper, a tree should measure at least a foot shorter than the ceiling.
  • Dress for the day’s weather so you are comfortable and can enjoy the experience.
  • Don’t buy the first tree you see! The best trees are often a little deeper into the fields.
  • If you are unsure of what to buy or don’t see exactly the tree you want, you can always ask for help. All the farmers will be happy to guide you to the perfect tree!

While selecting a tree is highly subjective, we can all agree that you need a cup of hot chocolate for the ride home. The store sells that along with beautiful wreaths, lights and decorations to further get in the spirit.

In conclusion, a trip to Crossen Christmas Tree Farm gets an easy A+. 

The farm is open Wednesday – Friday 1 to 5 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting November 26. All trees are $50.

What’s the right Christmas tree for you

Crossen Christmas Tree Farm offers eight different species of tree. Each has its own pros and cons, but here is a handy cheat sheet to help find the right one for you.

Douglas Fir

  • Color: Bluish green
  • Needles: Soft, short and shiny with good retention
  • Branches: Not as stiff; lighter weight ornaments are recommended
  • Fragrance: Strong and sweet
  • Right for you if: You like a traditional fresh cut tree. This species tends not to last as long as the others so if you like chopping your own down, this is a strong candidate.

Fraser Fir

  • Color: Dark green with silver undertones
  • Needles: Soft with strong retention
  • Branches: Strong and hold ornaments well
  • Fragrance: Strong
  • Right for you if: You love a frontrunner. This is the customer’s choice when it comes to Christmas trees. You may also have a big collection of ornaments to display. This species has upward-facing branches with good spacing, making it easier to fit all of your favorite ornaments.

Canaan Fir

  • Color: Dark green with silvery underside
  • Needles: Soft with excellent retention
  • Branches: Strong and hold ornaments well
  • Fragrance: Light
  • Right for you if: You like an underdog. This is a more of an up-and-coming species, very similar to Fraser Firs but with even better needle retention.

Blue Spruce

  • Color: Bright blue, of course
  • Needles: Very prickly with weaker retention, but may keep pets away
  • Branches: Strong and hold ornaments well
  • Fragrance: Light
  • Right for you if: You love a traditional tree but may also have pets and want a prickly needle to deter them from getting too close.

Concolor Fir

  • Color: Silvery green/blue
  • Needles: Longer with excellent retention
  • Branches: Fair
  • Fragrance: Strong citrus-like scent
  • Right for you if: You like a tree that smells seriously good. Its citrus scent is a big draw for shoppers. It also handles some neglect, so it may be a good choice for people who travel over the holidays.

White Spruce

  • Color: Whitish green
  • Needles: Short and stiff with better retention than most other spruces
  • Branches: Strong and hold ornaments well
  • Fragrance: When crushed, the needles get an unpleasant odor
  • Right for you if: You like a reliably symmetrical tree that can handle loads of ornaments. You also don’t care much for that classic Christmas tree scent.

White Pine

  • Color: Bluish green
  • Needles: Extremely soft and thin with weaker retention
  • Branches: Not as stiff; lighter weight ornaments are recommended
  • Fragrance: Little to none at all
  • Right for you if: You want a tree with a fuller, distinctive look that’s easy on the allergies. Their very light fragrance isn’t likely to aggravate your senses.

Austrian Pine

  • Color: Dark green
  • Needles: Long with good retention
  • Branches: Strong and hold ornaments well
  • Fragrance: Light
  • Right for you if: You want a tree with a rich history. Rumor has it, this was one of the first Christmas trees—worshipped by the Romans.

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