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Ever since I can remember – and a little bit before – my family has had a tradition of getting our Christmas tree with close family friends. Both newlywed couples, they were eager to start their new lives together. That Christmas, in 1981, they started a tradition of hunting down and cutting the perfect tree together, and not one Christmas has been missed. Through babies, moves, teenage resistance to traditions, college years and now new additions to the families, this is THE Christmas tradition that has gone on unwavering.

Why do we continue to cut our own tree? It’s the smell of fresh cut fir in the living room, cutting the tree to match the perfect height, making a wreath of all the extra branches removed in order to fit that perfect height, the hunt and, above all, the REAL friendship. The day starts when we gather for treats and hot cocoa before loading into trucks to slay our trees. In a two hour flash we have stalked our prey and bagged our perfect Christmas centerpiece. Back to the house we go for the main course and more merriment. We’ll often prepare a chili or stew using ingredients raised by our families and Tillamook Cheese, butter and sour cream. In the downtime before the chili is finished we enjoy Tillamook Cheese and crackers. Last year introduced a new appetizer: fresh baguette, home-canned Albacore tuna, tomato and Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheese. Prepared with a light virgin olive oil glaze, for that perfect shine and crunch, and broiled briefly, these morsels were a hit!

I obviously love my real Christmas trees, but understand that there may also be situations where a fake tree makes sense. Arizona/Southern California – it’s just too darn hot and expensive for a real tree. People with allergies, I feel supremely bad for you, but understand that you need your fake tree to sleep well at night without fear of anaphylactic shock. For the fiscally conscious individual, the cost of a real tree can be a bit daunting when compared with a fake tree, if you take into account that you will likely keep using the same fake tree for at least 5 years. At $30/year for a real tree, you only need about 3 years to equal the same cost of a fake tree.

Even with the seemingly positive attributes a fake tree has to offer, as for me and my house, we will spend the extra money for authenticity. We prefer the quality of real friends, scratch made chili, home prepared tuna melts and things like REAL Tillamook Cheese! We love everything about these real items that are so full of life and strangely, the spirit or togetherness and happiness. They have a character that is irreplaceable. So this holiday season I wish you and yours nothing but REAL happiness and joy – regardless of your choice of tree!

~ Matt of the Tillamook Team


Anna Vandenhazel

We used to always get real trees, but one year the store we went to was out and they had a great deal on artificial trees so we bought one.

When I still lived at home in Oregon, we lived on 80 acres of forest and never bought a tree – my dad simply went down in the woods, picked one he liked, and cut it down. Sometimes I and/or my brothers were allowed to tag along when we were big enough not to be a problem. The first year my brother John and I were allowed to help pick a tree, I had been looking at Christmas cards and there was one that depicted a father and 2 children carrying a tree and an axe. When my dad came out of the garage carrying a saw, I asked why he didn’t bring an axe like the people in the picture, and he said, “axes are for people too poor to buy a saw!”

December 20th, 2011 at 9:55 am

Amy Hassett

If I lived in Oregon I would cut down my own tree in a heartbeat! I love a real tree, I love the smell, the sticky sap... I love Christmas! I also love Tillamook cheese..though I can't get it as often as I'd like.... I have to travel a bit to get it. Even my 5yr old grandson knows the difference between Tillamook and the "other" cheese...

Thanks for sharing your tradition!
Merry Christmas!

December 20th, 2011 at 10:50 am

Tillamook Team

Ha! I love this story, Anna! Thanks so much for sharing.

Yes, those of us in Oregon are definitely spoiled with convenient access to amazing Christmas trees. I'll never take that for granted! Have a great holiday!

Jala of the Tillamook Team

December 20th, 2011 at 11:31 am

Tillamook Team

I'd have to agree with you there, Amy! I'm a huge fan of the real trees, too! We're so lucky to live in a place that provides us beautiful and fragrant trees.

Thanks for sharing your love for fresh trees, Christmas and Tillamook! Enjoy your holiday!

Jala of the Tillamook Team

December 20th, 2011 at 11:33 am


Anna, the traditional actually started by cutting the tree down in the forest. They'd get a 'tag' to allow them onto public land. I guess they weren't as skilled as your father cutting them down though as the story goes that they cut more than their fare share of 'Charlie Brown' trees :)!

Amy, your grandson is wise beyond his years! Why is it that I love the sticky sap too?! It's like the tree is sharing the Christmas spirit from its core - and I'll take it!

Happy holidays.

December 20th, 2011 at 11:46 am

Carol Worster

I have always loved the smell, feel & look of a real tree. Ever since I got married we had to go with an artificial tree because of my husband's allergies. By the way we have used the same tree every year for the last 32 years! I would like to plant a small live tree in the yard that I could decorate with animal safe decorations - pinecones in peanut butter & birdseed etc. I made the mistake of buying Costco brand cheddar cheese in a misguided effort to save a little money. My husband & son both complained about it as soon as it was opened. I tasted it & agreed with them. Back to the store it went & I came home with a nice new 5# loaf of Tillamook Medium Cheddar. I learned my lesson - NEVER again will I buy anything but The REAL cheese, the taste difference just isn't worth the two to three dollars savings!

December 20th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Gabby B

Even us folks in warm California love our real Christmas trees. There are varieties that are more resilient to our warmer weather. It's totally worth the $50+/year when you come home and take a whiff of fir. I love it and couldn't trade it for the fake tree which I still have to puff out and decorate every year at the office.

December 20th, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Tillamook Team

Hi there, Carol! I love your idea of the live decorated tree. Now if you can just figure out how to get that Christmasy smell into the house without bothering your husband's allergies. Hmmmm.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, ideas and love for Tillamook Cheese. We really appreciate dedicated Tillamook fans like you.

Happy holidays!

Jala of the Tillamook Team

December 22nd, 2011 at 9:03 am

Tillamook Team

I'd have to agree, Gabby! I love the smell of a fresh tree. I actually had to settle for a small, fake tree this year as I have a one-year-old who wouldn't last 2 minutes around a big, fresh, glorious Douglas Fir on the living room floor. Hopefully next year! I'm glad you guys have trees in California that are happy in the warmer weather.

Have a great holiday, and thanks for staying in touch with Tillamook!

Jala of the Tillamook Team

December 22nd, 2011 at 9:07 am

Artifical trees

I being like to jump on trees and around near them and i use to playing games on tress in my village with my friends in my childhood , I've really good remembrance with tress.........

October 5th, 2012 at 5:35 am

Tillamook Team

Hi there,
So happy to hear you have fond memories of trees! I hope you have some good memories with cheese too :)
Thanks for sharing,
Amalya of the Tillamook Team

October 10th, 2012 at 11:46 am
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