Channel your inner Charlie Brown at the Patchen Christmas tree farm up in the Santa Cruz mountains. The folks there will give you the saws and directions to their stands of Douglas fir, Sierra redwood, and Monterey pine. Then it’s your turn to tramp about in the crisp, pine-scented mountain air until you find a tree that’s just right for your apartment, house, or out-of-town cabin. But don’t wait until Christmas Eve—the farm closes December 17.
Patchen, 22217 Old Santa Cruz Hwy., Los Gatos; 408-353-1615. Firs up to eight feet, $50; redwoods and pines up to eight feet, $40.
Alternatives: If you’re dreaming of a Green Christmas, check out San Francisco’s nonprofit Friends of the Urban Forest. For $150 (we told you to think green) they’ll deliver live trees right to your door. These aren’t pines: selections range from Southern magnolias to New Zealand Christmas trees. Or for a present that even your most finicky friend will enjoy, make a $25 donation and Friends will put it towards planting a tree for anyone you name. It’s a great stocking stuffer. And a good excuse to go hug a tree.