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Tree-cutting Christmas tradition alive and well west of Rimbey

Despite brutally cold temperatures


For many people, a traditional Christmas includes trekking into the woods to find the ideal tree to grace the home over the holiday season, cutting it down, hauling it back and decorating it in all varieties of lights, tinsel and decorations.

But through the years a variety of artificial Christmas trees has hit the market and the long-running tradition, much like caroling, has fallen by the wayside

But not in the Rimbey area.

“We basically stated our tree farm here in the year 2000 when we planted about 3,000 trees and have continued every year since then for five years, planting about 1,000 more each year after,” said Anko Buwalda, who recently welcomed the public to his farm approximately eight kilometres west of the community to cut their own tree for the holidays. “We started selling Christmas trees last year for the first time and this is our second year. The weather has not been conducive to good tree sales with -30 C and -35 C temperatures and it’s kind of tough in those conditions.”

Despite the cold, 10 families braved the conditions and took Buwalda up on his offer. In addition to experiencing the uniquely-Christmas tradition, were also treated to hot chocolate and hay wagon rides.

“Our main sales are in the spring and summer for landscaping trees and that’s our primary purpose but we thought that selling Christmas trees would be a good holiday idea,” Buwalda said. “We didn’t do very well last year because it was -35 C then too. The trees are frozen so you have to handle them very carefully or the needles will fall off and secondly, to go out and pick out a tree when it’s that cold is pretty difficult.”

Generally, trees used for Christmas are between six and 10 feet in height and were planted as seedlings at about eight inches tall. In addition to marketing his trees during the yuletide, Buwalda, who operates the business with his wife, Tina, also caters to landscapers in the spring and summer and also custom plants area yards.

The former manager of the Gull Lake Deer Creek Gas Plant said growing and selling trees in idyllic setting of his farm is the ideal way to enjoy his retirement.

“We really enjoy it here and have lived here since 1974,” Buwalda said.

He has already received multiple requests for his trees this coming spring.

“This place used to belong to my wife’s parents and they bought it in 1961.”