TRY DOING THE CUT-YOUR-OWN TREE THING

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The annual trek to one of the local Christmas tree farms is a treasured holiday custom.

While the options for trees have expanded to include their artificial counterparts, nothing quite captures the season like finding the perfect tree among a forest of choices, cutting it down on your own and tying it to the roof of your car for the journey home, where it will bring that fresh pine scent indoors.

Here are some of the local farms where you can find your own perfect tree.

Note: All farms sell pre-cut and cut-your-own trees, and many offer shaking, netting and loading services.

Penngrove

Sunshine Living Christmas Trees: One of the only container-tree farms in Sonoma County. Open Monday-Thursday, noon-dusk; Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-dusk. 294 Palm Ave., Penngrove. 664-9335.

Petaluma

Larsen Christmas Tree Farm: Family-run for over 50 years. On the weekends, local 4-H kids hold a bake sale. Open Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 391 Marshall Ave., Petaluma. 762-6317.

Liberty Christmas Tree Farm: Free complimentary candy canes, apple cider and greens/boughs. Open Saturdays & Sundays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 241 Liberty Road, Petaluma. 490-6011, www.libertychristmastreefarm.com.

Little Hills Christmas Tree Farm: A petting zoo and gift shop are big draws, and friendly, leashed dogs can receive dog treats. Free candy canes, popcorn and apple cider. Open weekdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m., weekends 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 961 Chapman Lane, Petaluma. 763-4678, www.littlehillschristmastree.com.

Santa Rosa

North Eagle Christmas Tree Forest & Pottery: Choose a tree and the gifts to go beneath it. This farm is part of the Valley of the Moon Pottery North Eagle Gallery, with handmade pottery, paintings, sculptures and bonsai trees for sale. Open daily 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 6191 Sonoma Highway, Santa Rosa. 538-2554, valleyofthemoonpottery.com.

Sebastopol

Celesta Farms: Find wreaths, garlands and table-top trees, as well as free home-baked cookies, hot cocoa, apple cider, coffee and candy canes. Dogs on leashes welcome. Open Friday-Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., weekdays by appointment. 3447 Celesta Court, Sebastopol. 829-9352, www.celestafarms.com.

Fisher Farm: Bring home a flocked or natural tree, as well as wreaths and garlands. Open Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m.-dusk. 2870 Canfield Road, Sebastopol. 823-4817.

Frosty Mountain Tree Farm: Mrs. Claus reads stories on the weekend, the gift shop sells festive trinkets and coffee is hardcore (from Molly's Hardcore Coffee). There are also hay rides, farm animals, pony rides and an area for picnics. Open weekdays noon-5 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 3600 Mariola Road, Sebastopol. 829-2351, frostymountaintreefarm.com.

Garlock Tree Farm: Horse-drawn carriage rides, tractor-pulled hay rides, a jumpie, a petting zoo and more. Check out the gift shop, grab a free candy cane and indulge in some of the delicious foods they sell in their caf??. Santa visits on the weekend. Open Fridays noon-5 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 2275 Bloomfield Road, Sebastopol. 823-4307, garlocktreefarm.org.

Grandma Buddy's Christmas Trees: Visitors can enjoy free hot cocoa, candy canes and tree clippings (for decorating) while they last. For sale are Grandma's chocolate mix, wreaths and garlands, centerpieces and, on the weekend, homemade cookies. Open daily 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. until Dec. 23. 8575 Graton Road, Sebastopol. 823-4547, grandmastrees.com.

Reindeer Ridge Tree Farm: Santa visits on the weekend, and every tree bought comes with a bag of apples. Families can also enjoy activities like hay rides and a petting zoo, and the gift shop has seasonal gifts for sale. Open Weekdays 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 3500 Mariola Road, Sebastopol. 829-1569 or 823-4845, reindeerridge.com.

Santa's Trees: Those looking to enjoy the natural beauty of a wooded, 7-acre forest of trees will love the simplicity of this no-frills farm, situated with views of Bodega and Freestone. Open Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-dusk. 11389 Barnett Valley Road, Sebastopol. 823-6635, santastrees.biz.

Victorian Christmas Tree Ranch: In its 40th year, this farm offers free hot apple cider and homemade pumpkin bread by the fire. Open weekdays (except Tuesday) 3-7 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m.-7 p.m. 1220 Gravenstein Hwy. N., Sebastopol. 332-4605, www.victrees.com.

Wallinfarm: Find your perfect Douglas fir and then enjoy a cup of hot apple cider before going on your way. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 840 Ferguson Road, Sebastopol. 823-6973.

Sonoma

Moon Mountain Christmas Tree Farm: You choose the tree, they'll cut it down for you. While you wait, enjoy free hot cider, hot chocolate, coffee, Christmas cookies or a candy cane. Open: Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. until Dec. 16. 1550 Moon Mountain Drive, Sonoma. 996-6454, moonmountainchristmastreefarm.com.

You can reach Crissi Langwell at crissi.langwell@pressdemocrat.com.

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