Festive and fresh-cut

Good friends Victoria Ramos, 8, left, and Faith Shipper, 8, both

When it came time to pick the perfect Christmas tree, Gilroy
residents Mindy and Casey Hathcock weren’t about to follow Black
Friday’s lead.
When it came time to pick the perfect Christmas tree, Gilroy residents Mindy and Casey Hathcock weren’t about to follow Black Friday’s lead.

“Since we have a newborn baby, we decided it was time to get Christmas crazy. But the big box stores weren’t quite as appealing.” Mindy said, holding 3-month-old daughter Maizy in a sea of firs at the Battaglia Ranch Christmas Tree Farm in San Martin Friday afternoon.

“We’re trying to stay local,” husband Casey chimed in, as scents of pine and fresh kettle corn wafted about.

With Thanksgiving in the books and the mayhem of a record retail kickoff still lingering, South County residents are taking a deep breath then ramping up the holiday spirit with treks through local Christmas tree farms – where a cup of cocoa and a festive train ride turn a simple cut-and-carry into a daylong adventure.

“We usually spend about two hours here: one to find the tree and another for everything else,” San Jose resident Mark Kleiner said, standing next to his wife and three children. “And that’s part of the fun. It’s almost about who will hold out the longest until they get to pick. Stubborn person gets the tree.”

At Paradise Christmas Tree Farm on Friday, visitors sought after the fresh-cut variety of Douglas firs, coastal redwoods and Monterey pines offered at the farm in Morgan Hill. Owner Don Bianucci has been running Paradise for more than 30 years, boasting about 5,000 trees this year.

“They’re like people,” Bianucci said about the trees. “Some are tall and skinny, some are short and fat.”

Battaglia Ranch Christmas Tree Farm

Battaglia Ranch has been a staple in San Martin for more than 40 years. A 35-foot-tall inflatable Santa Claus greets drivers passing on U.S. Highway 101, and sleigh and train rides are available for all ages. The real Mr. Claus is expected to visit on weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Located: 13580 Murphy Ave. in San Martin. The farm is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Details: BattagliaRanch.com or 683-4730.

Ludewig Ranch Christmas Tree Farm

A family business in the truest sense, the Ludewig Ranch Christmas Tree Farm might not be the flashiest place to find the perfect tree, but it’s not short on charm. Hand-made wreaths and hot chocolate highlight the holiday jaunt, while a quaint miniature train ride though a festively decorated tunnel has been known to spark Christmas cheer.

Located: 13865 Monterey Road in San Martin. The farm opens at 11 a.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. weekends, and is open until after dark. Details: 683-2368.

Paradise Christmas Tree Farm

On the outskirts of Morgan Hill, Paradise Christmas Tree Farm offers more than just a jolly selection of pines and firs. The farm has also garnered attention for its old-fashioned, lathe-turned wooden bowls, plates, jars, vases and ornaments. Did we mention free candy canes, as well?

Located: 15220 Yvonne Drive in Morgan Hill. The farm is open 9 a.m. until dark Tuesday through Sunday. Visit paradisechristmastreefarm.webs.com or call 779-2946 for more information.

 

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