• Bottoms Christmas Tree Farm
5880 John Burruss Road
Hours: 3 p.m. to dark Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to dark Saturday; closed Sunday
• Kinsey Family Farm
7170 Jot Em Down Road
Hours: Noon to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Temperatures this week may seem more like spring, but it’s definitely Christmas time at two local tree farms.
The Kinsey Family Farm and Bottoms Christmas Tree Farm offer a wide range of holiday activities for families seeking the perfect tree.
At the farms, both of which are in north Forsyth, families have the option of cutting down their own tree or taking a pre-cut one home.
Dennis Bottoms, who owns Bottoms Christmas Tree Farm with wife Sandra and their children, said they want to offer families “a very friendly place to come.”
“We offer marshmallows they can roast, we have complimentary apple cider, fresh baked bread and popcorn, and they can look at all our animals,” he said.
Families can also bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the property’s picnic tables near a pond and take a hayride.
Children can also hear a story and color in the farm’s signature coloring book, which features the story of Christ’s birth.
“Hopefully, they just feel welcome and have a good time,” Bottoms said.
The owners of the Kinsey Family Farm have the same goal for their guests.
“You can take a wagon ride around the farm, you can roast marshmallows, make s’mores, you can feed and pet the animals,” said co-owner Andy Kinsey. “A lot of people come here to do family pictures, postcard pictures that kind of thing, because there’s a lot of scenic spots.”
Both farms also feature a range of homemade goodies for purchase, such as jams, jellies, breads and candies.
The Bottoms also craft handmade wreaths and hanging green decorations ranging in price from $8 to $75, while the Kinseys offer a commemorative annual pewter ornament.
Bottoms and Kinsey families sell their cut-and-take trees for about $7 a foot, while the pre-cut trees range from $8 to $10 a foot.
“The pre-cut trees, we have to pay to have those shipped in so they average a little more,” Bottoms said.
The Bottoms grow Leyland, Murray and Carolina Sapphire cypresses and Virginia and other pine varieties.
At Kinsey, visitors will find Murray, Arizona, Carolina Sapphire and Blue Ice cypresses, as well as some firs.
The Kinsey farm also offers “ball and burlap” trees, which have the roots still attached with dirt in a burlap sack.
“With those, the ones you can plant, we mostly have Norway Spruce and Eastern Hemlock,” Kinsey said.
With Thanksgiving falling a few days earlier this year, both local farms have seen shifts in business.
“We’ve got six more days this year than we’ll have next year because of the way Thanksgiving fell,” Bottoms said. “I’m kind of thinking some of our regular customers who typically would have come last Saturday may come this Saturday.
“Usually we would sell about 200 trees last Saturday, and we sold about 180. But now, Georgia was playing Alabama [in the SEC Championship football game], so that might have had something to do with it.”
Kinsey said people’s traditions hold true no matter what the calendar says.
“Thanksgiving was as early as it can be this year and they still came right after Thanksgiving to get their trees,” he said. “It’s a tradition for a lot of people to get a tree that weekend.”
The additional length of the season could pose some challenges when it comes to keeping a tree fresh.
“It’s a long haul and that’s my concern,” Kinsey said. “But we keep all our stuff [pre-cut] stuff in water and in the shade and so far we’ve not had any returns or phone calls.
“If people take care of their trees at home they should be OK. But if you start out with a tree that’s bone dry, then you might be in trouble.”
He said the best ingredient for a live Christmas tree is just plain water.
“No sugar, no Aspirin, no Sprite, nothing like that,” he joked. “Just water, straight water, at all times. And we also recommend if you have a dry house, if you have a wood-burning stove or something, just keep a humidifier in the room with the tree.”
Both family farms enjoy sharing the holiday season with others.
“I think this is our 13th season and we have a lot of families that come back year after year,” Bottoms said.
Added Kinsey, whose farm has been selling trees for eight years: “A lot of people are like, ‘You know, this is where you go to start Christmas. This is the gate.’”