Christmas Traditions – Find and Cut a Christmas Tree


Every year, we get a tree to decorate for the holidays. It’s one of our Christmas traditions.

It’s a fun tradition, and also a good excuse to put our ornament collection on display. We have tons ornaments from our childhoods and ones we have collected ourselves. We have snowflakes, cowgirls, Homer Simpson drinking Duff, skis, Santa playing soccer, nutcrackers, and many, many more.

Sometimes we buy and sometimes we cut our own. We are slowly making it our annual tradition to find and cut a Christmas tree the week after Thanksgiving. The sooner we get it done, the more time we have to ski (and enjoy our tree, of course).

After an extensive email chain with a dozen friends and spouses, we had a plan. Meet at noon at the Safeway lot and head up to Lolo Pass. We picked up tree tags for $5 at the Ranger Station and parked in the upper lot on the Montana side.

We quickly built a small (and by small, I mean large) fire and cracked a few beers. The dogs played in the snow and dug holes looking for sticks to fetch. My little boy loved to jump into the holes the dogs left.


After a few hours of swapping ski stories and making plans for future ski trips, it was time to get down to business. We had to bring a tree home.

We like the Charlie Brown style tree, not the Clark Griswold style tree. Lolo Pass is full of Charlie Brown trees and we found one quickly. It didn’t long to haul it out and tie it to the roof. The sun was setting and it was time to head home.

But no trip to Lolo Pass is complete without a stop at the LumberJack. The lot was full and almost every vehicle had a tree strapped to the roof. We ordered some food and settled in to watch some football by the fire.

Not a bad way to start the holiday season.




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Travis Goodkind is the owner of the Missoula business Backcountry Racks & Skis. The Vermont native moved out west after college 10 years ago in pursuit of bigger mountains and has never left. He spends his free time exploring Montana’s mountains, trails, and rivers with wife Julie, son Asher, and black lab Pika. Check out his blog, Backcountry Freeskier, for more powdery goodness.