Start a new family Christmas tradition by gathering all your loved ones together, jump in the car and get yourself to one of the Christmas Tree Farms that are operating around Scotland. Browse, pick and then cut down your own tree, maybe even treat yourselves to a festive treat afterwards, that’s if there hasn’t been a domestic over the size of the tree required. The kids will love it.

We visited Wester Auchentroig Farm, near Buchlyvie, which has been growing Christmas trees since the late 1970s. Farmer, Euan Duff is there to meet us, along with his wife, Flick and his two sons, Russ and Dougie, who are out working with a team of seasonal local workers that are drafted in to help during the busy season.

The Christmas tree experience here will open to the public on December 1, which isn’t too early for your tree if you look after it properly. You can put the tree in a garage, a shed or leave it outdoors until you are ready to bring it in, and it will be fresh and hold its needles til Christmas and beyond.

When you arrive you will be given a thick pair of gloves, a saw and a mini square of carpet (to kneel on when sawing). Bring your wellies, it’s muddy. You can then wander around the field nearest the farm to find the perfect tree for your family, you then pick the member of your family who is going to saw it down and you all offer useless advice to them while they do all the hard work. It is then brought back to the farm, it is netted and put in or on your car; they’ve even seen soft tops drive off with trees jammed in them, so you should be fine.

Of course, they have many pre-cut trees which can just be picked up from the farm without exerting too much energy, but where’s the fun in that?

The Duff’s have half a million trees across their 300-acre farm, harvesting 35k for this year’s Christmas season. When we visit, there are trucks coming and going like planes going in and out of Glasgow airport. They have a huge wholesale business, supplying garden centres, shops etc all over the UK. But the retail side, with the pick your own tree, brings the most joy.

“We’ve been offering pick your own trees for around 25 years. We had one family from East Kilbride who came every year and they always wanted to cut their own tree down, and we thought it would be a good idea to offer it to everyone, and it has blossomed since then.

“We set up a coffee van, there’s mince pies and some other Christmas decorations that can be bought too, we want it be a special experience for everyone. And we have families come back year after year to do it. We've seen three generations come through the farm, it’s lovely,” says Euan.

They buy the trees in from Denmark when they are around four-years old, and grow them til they are approx 11-years-old, when they are the perfect size for homes around the country.

They grow four varieties of tree, the Nordman Fir, the Fraser Fir, the Lodgepole Pine and the Norwary Spruce. The most popular with customers is the Nordman Fir, as it has a symmetrical shape with strong branches. Its needles are shiny and soft to touch, and of course, it has a low needle drop. The Norway Spruce is the tree that is considered a traditional Christmas tree, however, it is more suited to outdoor situations as it will drop its needles in a warm building.

The family really start their Christmas work schedule around the end of October, Euan laughs when he says that being a Christmas tree farmer is the best job in the world for ten months of the year, but then it hits the festive market and it is non stop.

During the year each tree requires pruning twice to keep its shape, and with 300 acres under tree-cover you see where their time goes. The farm has invested heavily in specialist equipment which deals specifically with trees and are keen to educate people on how much work is involved in producing the perfect Christmas tree. It’s not a case of planting it and popping back after a few years to chop it down, this is a year long operation, and the family is committed to producing the best trees possible.

Euan sends all his trees off to their new homes with a tag attached, giving information on how to keep your tree in top condition.

1. Keep your tree fresh by cutting an inch off the base and placing it in water.

2. Store in a cool place.

3. When you bring it indoors, place it in a water holding stand away from radiators and direct heat.

The farm is open to customers from December 1, through to December 24, from 9am til 5pm. And Euan says that the busiest weekend of the month is December 16-17, which is just about when everyone realises that Christmas is upon them.

The farm is situated 17 miles west of Stirling and 20 miles north of Glasgow, near Buchlyvie. I know I’ve said it before, but bring your wellies it is a working farm, in Scotland, in winter… be prepared.


Trees are upwards of £25. It works out at around £7 per foot, so a 6ft tree would be around £40.

The postcode for the farm is: FK8 3PB.