Starting the Christmas Season off right at Grace Tree Farm

by | Nov 30, 2023

#EscapeWithNCAg is a year-long series that will focus on agritourism across North Carolina. Many farms, wineries and other agricultural businesses in our state offer events such as tours, yoga, educational classes, pick-your-own events and festivals, to entertain the public and teach them about our state’s number one industry. Each Thursday, we will feature a new site for you to visit with friends or family. Stay tuned and learn how to escape the stresses of life by diving into agriculture! 

Choosing the perfect Christmas tree is a tradition for many families during the holiday season. Actually being able to cut your own tree down, however, is a much more personal and unique experience. At Grace Tree Farm in Denver, families can do both.

In 2011, Doug Sidell decided to take a leap of faith and start a Christmas tree farm. “My wife, Krista, and I wanted a farm for our children to grow up on, which led to the purchase of our beautiful land,” said Doug, owner and operator of Grace Tree Farm. “I am a degreed forester, so after speaking with a Christmas tree farmer at a show in 2010, it just made sense to use my degree knowledge and venture into Christmas tree farming.” Today, the 15-acre farm grows four varieties of Christmas trees: Leyland Cypress, Carolina Sapphire, Arborvitae and White Pine. They also have many Fraser Fir trees available for purchase on-site that are brought down from the N.C. mountains for interested customers.

In 2017, six years after his first trees were planted, Doug and Krista opened their family farm to the public. “Being a Christmas tree farmer takes a lot of faith and patience because it takes years to see any return on investment,” Doug said. “It’s like aiming at a moving target. There will be frustrations, but you learn as you go and the reward when people purchase a tree from your farm is worth it.” Krista and Doug recommend making a reservation through their website to come out and choose/cut your Christmas tree, especially on the first two weekends. “Sometimes it can take over an hour for people to get into the farm on the weekends if they don’t have a reservation, especially right after Thanksgiving,” Doug said. “We recommend reserving a time slot between 9 a.m. and dark, so that we can get you parked and into the farm easily.” The cost of the tree will depend on the size, variety, and market value of the tree. Be sure to check the price tag and talk to Doug or Krista with any questions upon your visit. Doug’s favorite tree is the Leyland Cypress because of their smell and ability to fill out nicely in the home.

In addition to choose and cut Christmas trees, Grace Tree Farm also offers professional photography opportunities on the farm and in the field. “This unique offering started because people would stop by as I was working out in the field and ask if they could take pictures on our property because of how beautiful it was,” Doug said. “Since then, we have expanded to add on the Timber Pavilion where families can get a beautiful photo together in a festive environment or on our custom seater bench. They can also go out in the field to get photos with the trees if they desire.” Reservations are required for photography sessions as well as a booked professional photographer. The cost is $40 per family and includes access to anywhere on the farm grounds. “Our family takes advantage of this opportunity every year because of the fun experience and beautiful backdrop,” Doug said. “Not only will your family make core memories during the process, but you will have the pictures to prove it for years to come.”

Although he loves growing the trees and seeing his hard work come to fruition, Doug’s favorite part of the farm is seeing the joy on the faces of customers who come to purchase a Christmas tree. “People love to cut Christmas trees themselves because it is a unique experience that isn’t offered everywhere you go,” he said. “I love to see the smiles on their faces as they find the perfect tree for their home, hear the screams of the kids as they wait for the tree to fall down, and watch them drive away with their first holiday memory of the season.”

Stop by to visit Doug and Krista at Grace Tree Farm today and choose the perfect Christmas tree to shine brightly in your home this holiday season. Don’t forget to thank Doug for all of his hard work and patience growing these trees through the years. We are so proud to have him as a part of our state’s number one industry!