Attention holiday procrastinators: if you’re still in need of the obligatory seasonal décor, you still have plenty of options. While it’s a little late in the season, it doesn’t mean that you have to settle for the nearest roadside empty lot/Christmas tree stand or big box retailer. Tree shopping should be one of the happier elements of the holiday experience, and the Chicago area abounds with special sources for holiday woodland décor. From the self-cut to the perfectly packaged, here’s a guide to some of the best places to find this year’s tree.
B. A. Florist & Nursery Company
1000 W Randolph St
The old warehouse district of the West Loop has had a little corner of greenery in the form of B. A. Florist & Nursery Co. since 1935. Just five minutes from downtown, the shop provided neighborhood residents with their own local outlet for seasonal nature goods. In addition to the convenience factor, prices are also reasonable, with trees starting at $30. The shop also carries a variety of Christmas flowers, potted plants and wreaths.
Gethsemane Garden Center
5739 N. Clark St.
At the northern edge of Andersonville, Gethsemane takes up a sizeable stretch of Clark Street frontage, which is a clear indication that this place has quite a bit of inventory. Their trees are high quality, individually chosen from farms in Michigan and North Carolina, and typically shipped within 48 hours of harvesting. Along with a great selection of trees, you’ll doubtless encounter array of holiday flowers and wreaths as well. Note for those without adequate tree transport: Gethsemane offers home delivery.
Ide Christmas Tree Farm
1500 83rd St.
Downers Grove, IL
All trees are $60 (cash only) regardless of size. While less expensive trees can be had elsewhere, this is the closest “cut your own” option to the city. Visitors are advised to Dress warmly and wear boots. Also, if you have a bow-saw and rope, bring it along. If not, Ide will provide. In any case, you’ll have to hurry, since December 18 is the last day for tree cutting.
Kuipers Family Farm
1N318 Watson Rd.
Maple Park, IL
Located just west of St. Charles, Kuipers is a 230-acre farm with a variety of year-round activities, attractions and edible goodies. Holiday season visitors in search of a tree have the choice of cutting their own or purchasing one freshly harvested and pre-cut. Self-cut pines are $49, firs are $89, and pre-cut prices vary. While you’re there, visit the well-stocked Orchard Shop & Bakery for holiday pies and specialty foods.
Larson’s Family Farm
4404 Somonauk Rd.
If you’d like to add a nice drive in the country to your tree procurement experience, you might consider Larson’s, located west of Aurora in DeKalb County. The farm offers eighteen acres of cut-your-own Chrsitmas trees in several varieties, along with an antique shop with vintage holiday decorations, gifts and spiced apple cider. All trees are $33 and tree-cutting ends after December 18.
Meinke Garden Center, Inc.
5803 W. Touhy Ave.
Meinke has long been popular with local gardening enthusiasts, and is a reliable source for area tree-hunters. The business is family-owned, friendly and a good place for novice gardners with a lot of questions. Expect fair prices and a good selection, with possibly a bit of a crowd, so go there with some time to spare and pick up some non-holiday flora as well.
Old Town Gardens
1555 N. Wells St.
A convenient option for Near North Siders, Old Town Gardens offers a variety of trees, along with wreaths, fresh holly, garland and ornaments to accentuate the holiday. The trees are fresh here, even this late in the tree-buying season, so you can avoid having to vacuum up a blanket of fallen needles off the floor after the holidays.
745 N. Damen Ave.
If you go to Sprout for a tree you might want to count on spending more than you expected, since this place overflows with gift options as well. While Ukrainian Village area residents can enjoy a convenient spot to pick up a tree, shoppers will also find a large variety of neat terrariums, vases, planters, candles and other groovy, gifty items for the home.
Greg Wahl is a Chicago resident who’s open to pretty much any excuse for a day trip around the prairie.