Holiday Bucket List ft. My First Real Christmas Tree

In 2020, I think we can all agree that any reason to spread extra cheer is welcome… While the holidays may look different for a lot of us this season, I’ve been taking every opportunity to embrace new and old traditions, say yes to (safe, outdoors) adventures, and update this holiday bucket list as we go.

Tips on Snickers Gap/Cut-your-own Christmas trees, for future reference:

1) Set up your stand ahead of time. Live trees need to be in water within two hours of being cut so the sap doesn’t close over where the tree needs to take in water! We made the mistake of trying to install the stand while the tree was inside. Definitely would have been easier to set it up beforehand.

2) Go early in the morning. We got to Snicker’s Gap around 10:30am on a Sunday. When we left around noon, the line to get into the parking lot was wrapped out to the highway. My coworker told me that Waze will take you a back way to skip a lot of the line if you get there late!

Christmas tree farm
Benny, our 7.5-foot the Douglas Fir in tow

3) Put tension on the tree for an easier cut. The saws they provide are just fine, but when cutting down your tree it’s much easier to have one person pull the top of the trunk in the same direction as the saw is going through the tree. Noah was sawing at the tree for awhile before we realized this! They also say to bring a tarp to drag it back, but we didn’t need it.

4) Plan for safe transport. We took out the seats in my mom’s minivan and were able to fit the tree inside, but if you can’t definitely bring some extra rope or bungee cords to die down the tree to your roof. They shake the needles off and bundle it tightly for you.

5) Wait to decorate. After setting up the tree in your stand at home, give it a day or overnight before hanging ornaments. If it’s not taking up water, you may need to saw an inch off the bottom. This will be a pain do if you’ve got decorations on already!

  • Drive around to see holiday lights
Palmer Alley in CityCenter DC is one of my favorite spots!
  • Decorate Christmas tree
  • Browse a holiday market
This s’more is from the Downtown Holiday market a few years back, but this year it looked so crowded when we pulled up that we turned around and went to the one at Victura Park instead. It was much smaller, so we might try to go back to the Downtown market on a weekday!
  • Build gingerbread houses – Trader Joe’s has kits for $7!
  • Drink hot cocoa and watch Christmas movies – I used my King Arthur flour Double Dutch Dark Cocoa I picked up at their flagship store in Vermont this fall, in honor of our first snow! It was rich, chocolatey goodness.
  • Go ice skating

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