This Christmas, instead of buying your tree from a store, create family memories by going to one of the many Christmas tree farms in the area to cut your own. Tree cutting farms have a variety of activities, aside from the trees, that create a fun-filled day for the whole family. Keep in mind that many of these tree farms are located outside of Houston, with a cluster found in the southern reaches of the east Texas piney woods, which is found to the north and east of town, so plan to make a full day of it to get to the tree farm before dark, which is when most of them close. Start a new tradition this year at one of these cut-your-own Christmas tree farms.

Spring Creek Growers
23803 Decker Prairie-Rosehill Road
Magnolia, TX 77355
(281) 259-8114

For your Christmas tree cutting experience, why not couple it with a memorable pancake breakfast with Santa for your kids? Spring Creek Growers offers this experience for an extra $14 per adult and $9 per child on two Saturdays during the holiday season, November 30 and December 14 both at 8:30 a.m. There will also be visits with Santa on various weekends during the holidays. See the website for times and dates. This tree farm also has a fishing pond, hay rides and a snack bar that is open for the weekends. It costs between $40 and $180 to cut your own tree, depending on the size of the tree, and the farm is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until dusk.

Mill Hollow Christmas Tree Farm
500 Palmetto Drive
Oakhurst, TX 77359
(936) 377-4044

Mill Hollow Christmas Tree Farm is located a little off the beaten path, near Lake Livingston, but the drive through portions of scenic Sam Houston State Forest land will make it worthwhile. This tree farm is open only on weekends from November 29 through December 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. While the farm only takes cash or checks, you can save some money by indulging in the free hot dogs, baked beans and chips from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day. For the young and young at heart, there is a tricycle course, grass mazes, walking trails, tire rolling and photo opportunities galore. Prices for each tree are based on the type of tree, perfection and its size, but expect them to range between $20 and $60, plus any fees for preparing the tree and taxes.

Dewberry Farm
7705 FM 362
Brookshire, TX 77423
(281) 934-3276

Dewberry Farms is a year-round favorite for many families in Houston, and during the holidays, Dewberry Farm gives your family the present of free admission to the farm, but you will still have to pay for extras. The dates and hours the farm is open can be seen here. Christmas tree prices start at $45 and go up to $200 paid by cash, Master Card or Visa. Dewberry Farm has photos with Santa and numerous rides and games that have an old-fashioned bent, like an extra-tall super slide that towers 30 feet in the air or the barrel train called the cow train or ride on the carousel.

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High Star Christmas Tree Farm
19020 Becker Road
Hockley, TX 77447
(281) 255-9888

High Star Christmas Tree Farm is open every day, including Black Friday, but the hours vary depending on the day. Find the hours here. Tree prices for Virginia pines, which are the only type available unless you want a pre-cut Fraser, range from $35 to $135. While at the farm, you can meet Santa, check out the wreath barn, the maze or take a mini-train ride.

Double Creek Farm
1288 Oakdale Loop
Livingston, TX 77351
(936) 967-3912

Up near Livingston, you can go to Double Creek Farm to get your Christmas tree starting November 29. Show up on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Contact the farm before you go to see if it will be open. The farm has trees as well as train rides and hay rides. There is also a bounce house for the little ones, and if you want the experience of gathering around an open fire to cook your own marshmallows and hot dogs, you can. There is even hot chocolate and hot cider available for purchase to warm you up at the end of a long day in the chilly east Texas December.

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Crystal Hessong ia a freelance writer and a lifelong, fourth generation Houstonian. Her work can be found at