If you choose to decorate a real tree each year, you don't have to drive too far to get one.
Ide Christmas Tree Farm spans 35 acres of land between Downers Grove, Darien and Woodridge. They have more than 45,000 trees growing with several varieties of spruce and pine to choose from.
The Ide Family has been selling Christmas trees for more than 50 years. There was a certain portion of Charles K. Ide's farm that was not ideal for growing crops, so he planted trees. After several years—it takes 10 to 13 years for a tree to mature—a friend suggested he sell them as Christmas trees. He set up a sign on what was then a gravel road and started his business.
The company is now run by his son, Charles C. Ide.
"My father-in-law started this business purely by accident," said Janet Ide. "And after over 55 years, it's turned into quite a business."
Located on 83rd Street between Woodward and Lemont Roads, Ide's Tree Farm prides itself on the fact that every single tree is grown on site from a tiny seedling.
These one-year-old seedlings are purchased each summer and grown for up to two years in a nutrient rich soil in the Ide nursery. This gives them a better root system and a better chance for survival.
The trees are then planted wherever Christmas trees were cut down the previous year, so all different sizes are spread throughout the farm. Each summer, the trees are sheared by hand to ensure they are full and conically shaped.
Every tree at Ide's costs $60 no matter the size or type. Their operation is a simple, self-serve method. You bring the family, you hunt to find the perfect tree, you cut it down, you haul it to your car and you pay on your way out. It's that easy. No gimmicks. No distractions.
The Ide's said business this year has been good.
"The weather plays a huge part in our business," Ide said. "The mild temperatures and low precipitation have helped so far this year."
Ide's is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays.
Notes and tips from the Ides:
- Make sure your car is bigger than your tree.
- Dress warmly and wear boots.
- Bring a bow-saw and rope to tie the tree to your car. Rope also is available at the farm for a small fee.
- Don't forget the camera for those memory book pictures.
- And the most popular question, yes, they do have Port-a-Potty facilities.