I grew up in Wisconsin, one of the top producers of Christmas trees in the U.S. When I was a child, we always had a real Christmas tree, a tradition Jim and I continued through our sons’ childhoods. When the boys were quite young, around 1990, we discovered Korbisch’s Christmas Tree Farm (then called Tannenbaum Acres) about 20 miles east of my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin, at Wittenberg, where we could “choose and cut” our own tree.
We would join three of my brothers’ families on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, pile into our respective vehicles, kids and dogs in tow, singing Christmas carols during the ride, and go look for the perfect Christmas tree, always a balsam for me. For several years, we searched for three perfect trees, one for us and trees for two friends in Iowa. After a few years, the Korbischs knew to look for us.
The tree farm is about 45 acres of balsam, spruce, and frasier fir trees in a lovely setting with a stream running through the property. You can choose and cut your own or select from the trees they have displayed onsite. They also sell fresh-cut trees wholesale and send trees by the semi-load as far away as Wyoming.
The kids loved the dogs and cats that roamed freely and the horse and llamas penned in an area where the kids could pet them. The baling machine was always fascinating to all of us. Matt fed the trees through the hole and it magically came out the other side with the branches nicely tied up and secured with twine. After baling, Matt would help Jim tie or bungee cord the trees to the top of our mini van to make the 300 mile trip back to Iowa.
Then the kids grew up and left home, and life got in the way of this cherished tradition. We didn’t get to Wisconsin over the Thanksgiving weekend for the last 5 years. We bought an artificial tree which I’ve never liked but we made do.
Finally, this year we visited my hometown over the Thanksgiving weekend. The next generation of my family that lives in Wausau now takes their kids and dogs over the river and through the woods to find the perfect live Christmas tree at Korbisch’s. We tagged along for old time’s sake.
The Korbischs greeted us warmly and said they had wondered about us and how our retirement was going. While we didn’t cut down a tree (having no way to transport it to Iowa on the top of a Prius) we loved our walk down memory lane. Matt and Sally have expanded the operation to include the sale of lumber and log furniture. The menagerie of animals has grown to include donkeys, sheep, and an alpaca. With all they have going on out there, the Korbischs look forward to retirement from their primary jobs to spend more time on the tree farm.
So, if it’s possible, start a tradition like this with your own dear families and if you get to Korbisch’s Christmas Tree Farm, tell them Jim and Laura sent you.