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Clean air in Winter Park, Colorado

Christmas Traditions in the High County

How you get a wild Christmas tree in Grand County.

Have you ever cut your own Christmas Tree? Growing up with a fake tree it never occurred to me that cutting a real tree in Colorado is a family adventure. My family went from my childhood tradition of unloading a fake tree from the attic; sorting, fluffing, and position the branches, to a slightly less cumbersome purchase of a live scotch pine at the local boy scouts lot during my teenage years.

After college, cutting your own live tree at a tree farm became popular. Like a pumpkin patch in the fall, all the Christmas trees stood in neat rows, properly shaped and trimmed to the perfect conical shape for a Christmas tree. Christmas carols, hot chocolate, and sometimes sleigh rides and Santa made for a cozy festive tree gathering event.

Marrying a Colorado mountain man, I learned the true meaning of capturing a “wild” Christmas tree. Snow covered adventure awaits anyone who wants to pay the Forest Service fee of $10 to blaze a trail out in the woods and select their very own wild Christmas tree.

Christmas Trees

On a crisp, sunny, Sunday afternoon after a church potluck is our favorite time to look for a tree. Well fed, clothed in our best ski gear, we tramp through the forest looking for “the one”. My boys love the hunt and the dog thinks this is the best winter hike ever! As wild pine trees go, the Colorado Forests offer a few varieties; Angleman spruce, lodge pole, sub-alpine firs. Although perfectly shaped by wind and sun to suit the environment, none are “store bought” perfect. The story of each tree is part of its shape and size and the wonder that it is survived this long in a harsh climate.

A simple hand saw will cut most house-size trees. Tying the tree to the top of the car with the red forest service tag flying, we proudly display this trophy all the way home.

To get your own wild Christmas tree in Grand County, contact the forest service 970-887-4100. These nice folks will provide you witha tag, map, and even suggest the best places to find your Wild Christmas Tree!

Happy Hunting!

About Author Tanya Gioia


Tanya Gioia is constantly surprised by the amazing beauty of Grand County and how quickly her two boys can lose their mittens.

When she is not chasing boys or fixing a gluten free meal, Tanya is pampering a client at Joyous Skin Care and Sunless Tanning, the high altitude skin care expert.

 Catch her skin care blogs at: or call 970-887-1576 to schedule an appointment, party, or participate in a workshop.


High Altitude takes a toll on your skin, so take heart and take charge! At Joyous Skin Care, your beautiful skin is healed, sealed, and delivered to a place of glowing radiance!

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