How to cut down your own Christmas tree in true college fashion

Cutting down your own Christmas tree in college is completely hilarious and totally worth it. Me and my friends took an adventure into the woods last weekend and found the perfect tree. Here is some insight into cutting down your own Christmas tree based on my experience:

Buy cheap tools


With no tools and a plan thrown together the night before, me and my friends headed out on our adventure, of course much later then we had originally planned. On the way there, we stopped to buy the cheapest ax and handsaw we could find because, well, we are in college.

Make a Starbucks run

Once we procured the tools we needed, we of course made a Starbucks run. We thought we deserved it. A holiday drink is necessary when it comes to Christmas tree hunting. My recommendation is a Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha. It is like Christmas in a cup. Can you ask for anything better?

Prepare for the loss of cellphone service

The drive from Fort Collins to the closest tree cutting area is about an hour. We went to Canyon Lakes Ranger District near Red Feather Lakes. The cell phone service was spotty, and we lost our music connection on and off throughout the day. Be prepared for that if you want to go.

We got there and drove for a while, looking for a good spot to pull off and start our trek. It was busy, 27 degrees and there was a decent amount of snow on the ground. The idea immediately started to seem better in my mind than it was turning out to be. What did we get ourselves into?

Do not settle for the first decent tree you see

We continued to walk around for a bit searching for the perfect tree. We ran into a few good options, but they were not what we were looking for. They were not up to par. They just were not “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” status. Make sure not to just choose the first tree you see. You need to feel it.

We decided to head down a hill to a little patchy area where some pretty nice trees were nestled, but we still were not satisfied, and then in the distance there was a tree hiding behind some aspens and knocked over pines, and we knew that was our tree.

Wear warm clothes


One of our friends took off running through the snow to check out the tree. He gave us the okay. We slowly made our way over there. I was in Sorrels and still almost fell on my butt about a million times, but somehow I managed to make it to our tree. Comfortable and warm clothes are much needed.

We hacked at it with the axe and the handsaw. It took a while only to make little progress. We took turns, but it was still taking too long, and we are impatient people. One of my friends finally decided to just push and pull at it until it was relinquished from its stump and then nonchalantly lift it over his shoulder and journey back to the car.

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Russell Winterling carries the winning tree to the Jeep. Photo credit: Adelayde Dahlin


Bring extra tie-downs

We brought two ties because we also used a paddleboard rack to secure our new tree, but I would recommend for others to bring more. We named it Cringle right after we gently placed it on the Jeep. You need to name your tree after all the effort you put forth to get it. Of course, once all the work was over, we had to take a lot of pictures to commemorate the moment and use them as a shout out to our other friends who said we could not do it. Go picture crazy when you cut down your own tree.

Do not forget your furry friend

We were the only group of college kids there. The rest of the people were picture-perfect families with fluffy dogs all around them. I was jealous, but I was only jealous because we did not have a dog. A dog would have made the occasion even more adorable, which does not actually seem possible. I would bring a furry friend if I were you.

Our adventure was just that, an adventure. Cutting down a Christmas tree with my college family was an experience I would recommend for everyone, and it is only ten dollars for a tree permit. You get a lot of laughs and some great memories. And, don’t forget to greet Smokey the Bear on your way out.