O Christmas Tree: One Family Kicks off the Holiday Season by Getting Back to Nature

By Lamers, Chantal | Sunset, December 2016 | Go to article overview

O Christmas Tree: One Family Kicks off the Holiday Season by Getting Back to Nature


Lamers, Chantal, Sunset


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Two years ago, Seth and Kendra Smoot moved from New York to Northern California seeking a total lifestyle 180. The couple had originally relocated from Utah to New York for Seth's job as a photographer, but found themselves longing to return to the West. "Seth would come out here to work almost every month," says Kendra. "He got a taste of it and couldn't shake it."

Since moving to Marin County with their kids--Stella, 9, Imogen, 4, and Truman, 1--the Smoots have become devoted day-trippers. Even picking out a Christmas tree is a chance for an adventure. "Moving here from a city, we were excited for our feet to crunch through piles of fresh fallen needles," says Kendra, who works as a freelance stylist. For her family's inaugural trip to Larsen's Christmas Tree Farm in Petaluma, Kendra made the most of the day, packing a picnic and playing Frank Sinatra's holiday classics as they drove through the redwoods and a fog-banked reservoir: "We took the most scenic route," she says. "It added a special step."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

TIPS FOR A TOP TREE

Here's how to keep your conifer happy and healthy through the season indoors.

PICK A WINNER

Whether you're at a farm or on a lot, look for trees that are lush without any brown branch tips. A trick to determine if the tree is fresh: Pick a few needles and bend each in half. Fir tree needles should snap cleanly; the fir is too dry if the needles arch without breaking. For pines, it's the opposite-the needles should bend without snapping.

KEEP IT IN SHAPE

Many farms will shake your tree to remove loose needles and insects and then wrap it in twine for the ride home. When placing the tree on the top of your car, face the cut end toward the front so branches aren't bent the wrong way during the drive.

RECUT AT HOME

Within a few hours of a tree being chopped down, the trunk seals itself off, preventing water from passing through. Use a small handsaw to remove an additional two inches off the base, then place the tree in water.

CHECK WATER DAILY

Your tree is thirstier than you might think: In Sunset tests, a Douglas fir with a 4 1/2-inch trunk took up a gallon of water in its first 24 hours at home.

+ A FEAST IN THE FOREST

Check ahead to find out whether the farm you're visiting allows picnics on the grounds; if it doesn't, find a park to stop at along the way. For her family's picnic on the tree farm, Kendra filled a thermos with homemade butternut squash soup and kid-friendly toppings (recipe opposite). Another idea: hot cider plus a fruit-and-cheese spread, including Bose pears, red grapes, salumi, and a favorite Western blue (or cheddar for the kids). Instead of disposable tableware, Kendra loads her everyday dishes into a crate, with napkins cushioning breakable items. "It's part of my goal to be zero-waste, but it also makes it feel more like a special occasion," she says.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

+ SPICED APPLE
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

SERVES 4 TO 6/2 HOURS

Roasting a whole squash takes longer than one
that's cut up, but Smoot finds it easier (and safer)
to peel and cut the squash after it's cooked.

1   large butternut squash (about 33/i lbs.)
2   tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1   cup chopped red onion
1   Granny Smith or other firm-tart apple,
    peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. each ground nutmeg, cinnamon,
    cardamom, and ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2   to 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken or
    vegetable broth
    Kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup creme fraiche
    Optional toppings: Candied pecans, rosemary
    crackers, thinly sliced apples or pears,
    pomegranate seeds, flat-leaf parsley leaves

1. Preheat oven to 350[degrees]. Roast whole squash on
a rimmed baking pan until tender enough for
a long skewer to go all the way through neck
of squash, about 1 Vi hours. … 

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

O Christmas Tree: One Family Kicks off the Holiday Season by Getting Back to Nature
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.