It's that time of year again! The ice rinks are up at Union Square and on The Embarcadero, the weather is chilly, cute kitties and puppies are in the windows at Macy's, and the buildings have been wrapped up like presents in lights! Tis the season for Christmas Trees! In SF, getting a tree is no small task. Not only do most people live in tiny apartments, but lots of people don't own their own car, there are hills and steps everywhere, and hitting up your average big box retailer and grabbing a tree isn't an option.
Once you've decided that a little holiday cheer is worth a bit of extra hassel (and yes, real is the only way to go), you'll have to find a tree. There are usually at least a couple options per neighborhood, and the local hardware stores usually have at least a couple on hand. Since space is limited, you'll find the best selection at either a pop-up tree lot on a parking lot, or inside a big, empty space.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Since this is San Francisco, trees, just like everything else, are a bit more than you'd pay elsewhere.
- Don't forget to think about your ceiling height! Some places have 8-foot ceilings, while some boast 14 footers. Measure, and you'll be to pick a tree that fits.
- How much space do you have? Remember that trees can be very wide at the bottom. We have rather tall ceilings in our place, but since we have a projector instead of a regular tv, too wide of a tree will block the scree. Boys do not like that.
- How are you going to get it home? Will and Uber or Lyft let you tie it to the top? How about a friend? Taxi? Delivery service?
- Do you have a tree stand from a previous year? If you do, it'll save you some $10-$20!
Where to get a tree:
Marina Middle School is my favorite. They seem to have just enough of a selection that you can find what you want, but still avoid being overwhelmed. Prices are very reasonable, and proceeds benefit Marina Middle School students.
Gaurdsmen's Lot in Fort Mason probably has the biggest selection of trees in The City. The Gaurdsmen have been selling trees since 1947. The operation is powered 100% by volunteers, and all the proceeds go to sending kids to summer camp. Prices range from $30 to $795 for the largest 16-18 feet tall trees. They'll cut a fresh end on your tree of choice, carry it to the front for you, and tie it to your car. For an extra fee, they'll deliver it and set it up.
Started in 1971, Delancy Street is the country's leading residential self-help organization for ex-cons, former substance abusers, homeless people, and others who have hit rock bottom. There are a few Delancy Street tree lots around the Bay Area and six in The City. Sales of trees benefit this non-profit, and help people get back on their feet.
Emerald Forest Christmas Trees and Great Pumpkin Patch was an annual tradition along 19th Avenue in the Sunset for as long as I can remember. This year they've moved to a much larger space behind Stonestown Mall, and it seems like they have a larger selection. If you're in the Sunset, check them out!
If you're worried about the sustainability aspect of a cut fresh tree, many of which are farmed locally for this exact purpose, you can always lease a live tree. Plantman offers rental throughout the Bay Area in even in LA. a 6'-7' tree will run you $200+ a $40 for city delivery. Basically, they deliver the tree, which is still alive and in a pot, to your house, you enjoy it for 25 days, and they pick it up. After a couple years or nomadic life, the tree gets planted.