Tips on finding the perfect Christmas tree

A Petry family tradition. From left to right: Kaylee Huyett, Kailea Petry, 16, John Petry, Tyler Baker of Martinsburg, Kanette Petry, Annie Huyett, 16, and Josie Petry, 9, of Charles Town, West Virginia. Ashley Miller/Daily

The Christmas season has arrived, and for many that means the holiday tradition of heading out to local Christmas tree farms to select and cut down the perfect tree.

For Josie Petry, 9 of Charles Town, West Virginia, cutting down a Christmas tree has been a family tradition. Her father, John Petry, said she’s one of six tree experts in their household.

“See, we have six daughters,” Petry explained. “So we have six different ideas of what defines the perfect tree.”

Petry said when one daughter wants a blue tree, the other five want the complete opposite. For Petry, it can be a long day at the Christmas tree farm. “But I wouldn’t change it for the world,” he added with a big smile.

For Josie, finding the perfect tree is like solving a math equation or earning an A on a spelling test – it takes a lot of thought and prior planning. “Josie is really into finding the perfect tree,” Petry said. “She takes her time, making sure each item on her check list is checked off.”

According to Josie, the most important factor is “how the tree looks to you” she  said. “It can’t be too small but it also can’t be too big. It has to be just the right size for you.”

She added, “Always take from the perspective that if the tree is too tall, it can be trimmed,” Josie said.

Roberta Clouse, owner of Clouses Pine Hill Farm in Winchester where the Petry family purchases their annual holiday tree, agreed with Josie.

“Customers have the ability to cut their own trees down here at Clouses,” Clouse said. With that, comes an added bonus of picking tree height, width and circumference. Families are able to pick from the following Christmas tree species: blue spruce, Norway spruce, white pine, Scotch pine, concolor fir, Douglas fir, Fraser fir, and Canaan fir. Price varies by the foot, $35 to $150.

When it comes to decorating the tree, Josie explained that the width between branches determines the size of the ornaments.

“They need enough space in between each branch to move,” she explained. “If you have small ornaments you might want to look for a tree that has smaller spaces between the branches and vice versa for larger ornaments.”

Josie’s final tip in picking the perfect tree: “It really just has to speak to you. You just have to feel it.”

Area Tree Farms

• Amazing Race Farm and Jacobson’s Tree Farm,  3346 Crums Church Road, Berryville

• Ashcroft Farm, 751 Kitchen Lane, White Post, www.ashcroftfarm.com

• Clouses Pine Hill Farm, 2696 Greenspring Road, Winchester, www.clouisespinehillfarm.com

• Mountain View Farm, 2155 Rittenour Road, Edinburg,  http://www.virginiachristmastrees.org/farms/mtnview

• Oakland Tree Plantation, U.S. Route 340 North, Berryville, http://www.virginiachristmastrees.org/farms/cook