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Category: Christmas

10 Things Amazon Won’t Do For You

Shop Small

Yes, it may sometimes seem easier to shop online. You can shop in your pajamas. You can do it at 3 in the morning if you’re having insomnia. You don’t have to wait in line.

But consider a world where there are no cute little local shops to wander and browse in, to chat with the folks inside, to sponsor little league teams and offer you cookies and cider while you shop.

It’d be dreadful.

Plenty of folks have offered reasons why you should shop small (see Forbes’ 43 Reasons You Should Support Small and Independent Businesses). This is our own take on it. Shop small, y’all. Because there are lots of things Amazon won’t do for you that our South Coast independent businesses will.

10 Things Amazon (and its CEO, Jeff Bezos) Won’t Do For You:

  1. Sit down with you and figure out what to get those “tough-to-buy-for” folks on your list. Madeleine Whitley at Beautiful Things in Westport does this. Customers come to her year after year with the toughest folks on their list (think co-workers and most men) and she sits down with them to figure it all out. No extra charge. 772 Main Road, Westport, 508.636.3300.
  2. Read thousands of greeting cards to present you with only the best of the best. Shelley Cardoos at Hippo in downtown New Bedford reads and agonizes over which cards to pick from literally thousands of greeting cards. And you know what? When I need a greeting card, I’ll drive out of my way to go there. Because I know it’ll be worth it. There’ll be 100 carefully selected cards for me to choose from. I’ll find a winner easily. 741 Purchase Street, New Bedford, 774.202.1347.
  3. Wear an elf costume for you.  At TL6 the Gallery, Arianna and New Bedford Shop & StrollJen will jump into the holiday season with cheer and goodwill. They’ll wear elf costumes, offer samples of jam, teas and hot cocoas while you’re shopping and sponsor live demonstrations of artisans (check that out December 16th) to make your holiday shopping more fun. 100 William Street, 508.992.8100.  
  4.  Custom wrap your presents at no extra charge. They’ll do that at most of our local shops. At Flora-Style, they’ll even make sure to coordinate the wrapping with things you buy at their other stores (Flora-Home & Flora-Etc.) down the street. 324 and 368 Elm Street and 9 Bridge Street, S. Dartmouth.
  5. Buy unique clothing made by small manufacturers that you won’t find everywhere. Frank Fletcher at the Marion Sports Shop says simply “you’re not going to find our stuff on Amazon. We are like a personal shopper. We pick the best of the best.” Working with artisans and tiny manufacturers geared to small stores, Marion Sport Shop carries things you’ll find in New England only in a handful of other shops. 290 Front Street, Marion, 508.748.1318.
  6. Pick out the perfect accessory. Last year, Jeffrey at Calico suggested my daughter try a choker to go with a great jumpsuit she was wearing to a holiday party. We were both quietly thinking, “naahh, that won’t work” because we didn’t like chokers. But she politely tried it on. It MADE the outfit. I guess we do like chokers. And we’re grateful Jeffrey was there to suggest it. 173 Union Street, New Bedford, 508.999.4147.
  7. Convert their living space into storage to make sure they have enough overstock so they don’t run out of what you might need. Chris and Vince at Town Wharf General Store happily do this. (Jeff Bezos has five homes but I’m pretty sure he’s not storing anything for you there. If you’re interested, see his five giant homes here.) 10 Water Street, Mattapoisett, 508.758.4615.
  8. Give you a heads up about what someone on your list has been secretly eyeing. The other day, I ran into Lisa of West End General Store in Buzzards Bay and she mentioned that my mother really liked the Fraser Fir candle in her shop. I went in and bought it that very day. (Thanks, Lisa.) 25 Main Street, Buzzards Bay, 508.759.7040.
  9. Run down the street to make sure your toddler gets his teddy bear back. Cecily Balboni at Serendipity by the Sea will. She laughs and says there are a hundred things she’ll do for her customers that Amazon won’t. “I know all my customers,” she says. “I can run up the street if they forgot their bag. I can return their kids’ favorite teddy bears if they left them behind by mistake. Older people who can’t get out? I can deliver their stuff to them.”  Amazon might be able to deliver but really, it’s not the same. You’d rather have Cecily’s friendly visit than a box left at your door. 160 Front Street, Marion, 508.748.1800.
  10. Our local shop owners are on the front line of giving back to their local communities. Ben Rogers at Mattapoisett’s Surroundings says an important part of their business is supporting non-profits that service the local community, like Child & Family Services and Nativity Prep (both in New Bedford). Country Woolens in Westport regularly gives to the Westport Land Conservation Trust, as well as to the town’s school, fire, and police departments. Word on the street is that Amazon is a little stingy in the hometown philanthropy department (see this and this).  Surroundings is at 81 1/2 Fairhaven Road, Mattapoisett, 508.758.9933. Country Woolens is at 842 Main Road, Westport, 508.636.5661.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon don’t really care about you or me. The people down the street, the ones who chose our community to open a business, those people do care about us and the community. In this last stretch of holiday shopping, show them you appreciate them too!

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8 Great Things: December on the South Coast

We’re back with another of our  8 Great Lists. Here, we bring you 8 special South Coast happenings in December. There’s SO much going on this month that it was very hard to keep it to eight (but we did, because we’re creatures of habit and because 55 doesn’t rhyme with “great”).

1. We Love a Parade

South Coast happeningsFall River knows how to throw a great holiday parade: giant parade balloons; Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving by helicopter; Clydesdale Horses; 30 parade floats; 29 marching groups; 17 bands; children participating from every school in the city; and more!

The 33rd annual event is on Saturday, December 2. Santa arrives at 12:45. Parade begins at 1:00 from Kennedy Park down South Main Street, ending at the corner of Central and Bedford Streets. See here for more information.

2. Be Starry-Eyed

South Coast happenings“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” Stephen Hawking

UMass Dartmouth, in collaboration with the Astronomical Society of Southern New England (ASSNE), makes it easier for us to follow Stephen Hawking’s advice this weekend. On Saturday, the UMass Dartmouth Observatory throws its doors open to the general public for a FREE night-sky viewing session. The event depends on a clear sky. Check here for more information, including how to find out if there is a weather cancellation. Saturday, December 2 at 7 p.m. The Observatory is located in the field to the right of the main campus entrance off Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth.

3. It’s a Wonderful Movie

South Coast happeningsAfter the City of New Bedford tree lighting ceremony, Mayor Mitchell is inviting folks back to the Zeiterion Theater for a FREE showing of the holiday classic. If you haven’t seen it, you must. If you’ve seen it 99 times already, you should see it again. Zeiterion Theater, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. No tickets or reservations needed. More info here.



4. Make Room for Cookies

Photo courtesy of Medi ThomasThere’s a lot of things to do in December. But you know what’s most important? Completing a 5K in a Santa suit! Because you’ll be surrounded by a lot of fun people who don’t take running entirely seriously. And because you’ll burn some calories for a season of eggnog, hot chocolate and cookies.  “But I don’t have a Santa suit,” some of you are saying right now. No worries (and no excuses) — the suit is included with registration!  Participants are encouraged to bring a wrapped toy for those in need. Saturday, December 9, 2017.With a 1:00 p.m. start time (12:30 for those under 14 years old).Corner of MacArthur Drive and Union Street in New Bedford. Click here for more information and to register.

5. Snooping in Other People’s Houses

South Coast happeningsThe only thing better than snooping around other people’s houses is doing it when the houses are decorated to the nines. You can do this in Fairhaven, Marion, and New Bedford on the weekend of December 9-10. Enjoy the architecture, the interiors, the festive airs and the community spirit (the New Bedford and Fairhaven tours support historic preservation; the Marion tours support community scholarships).

The New Bedford House Preservation Society hosts the New Bedford tours. Candlelight tours (from 4 to 8 pm) are on December 9 and an afternoon tour (from 1 to 5 pm) is on December 10. More info here. 

The Sippican Woman’s Club hosts the Marion tour on Saturday, December 9 from 10 am to 4 pm. Start from Handy’s Tavern, 152 Front Street, Marion and end with Tea at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church from 2 to 4 pm. More info here.

The Fairhaven Historical Society hosts the Fairhaven tour on Sunday, December 10 from 1 to 4 pm. Start from Fairhaven Academy, 141 Main Street, Fairhaven. More info here.

6. It’s for the Birds

South Coast happenings

Photo courtesy of Nasketucket Bird Club

The National Audubon Society organizes the nation’s longest-running citizen science bird project. You can be part of its annual Christmas bird count this year with the Nasketucket Bird Club. The club hosts the count, followed by a potluck. Contact Justin at [email protected] or 774-207-8515 for more information. December 16. Meet at Park & Ride, 87 North Street, Mattapoisett at around 8 am (call or email Justin for an exact time). See more about Nasketucket Bird Club here.

7. Make Hay While the Sun Shines

South Coast happenings

Photo courtesy of Buzzards Bay Coalition

We have less than 9 hours and 10 minutes of daylight here on the South Coast on the winter solstice. Make the most of that daylight by joining the Buzzards Bay Coalition to enjoy a spectacular sunrise walk on West Island. 613 Fir Street, Fairhaven. Thursday, December 21, 2017 from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.  For more information and to register, click here.

8. All Month Long

South Coast happenings

Photo courtesy of Fall River Historical Society

The annual open house at the Fall River Historical Society features spectacular holiday trees in each of the historic Victorian mansion’s rooms. The trees are decorated with different themes and in unexpected ways and have been featured in Victorian Homes magazine, the Boston Globe and WCVB’s Chronicle.  Follow the visit with high tea at the Historical Society’s Easton Tea Room. The open house runs from November 18 to December 30 and admission is free. (holiday hours: weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; weekends 1 to 4:30 p.m.). For information about the tea room, read more here.

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We Need Lights! Lots and Lots of Christmas Lights!!!

Best South Coast Christmas Lights

The shortest day of the year is coming up. You know what that means?

We need lights! Lots and lots of lights!!

On our To Do List is a trip to Lakeville to see the “Crazy Tech Christmas Animated Light Show” on Furlong Circle. Its website proclaims that it is “tacky gone wild.” How can we resist?! (Check out their website to see whether the lights are on during rain or snow.)

But, we’re greedy for more destinations to fill up these long, dark nights. So we asked four of our favorite realtors to tell us some local streets where we can get our fix. Not surprisingly, the spirited town of Fairhaven comes through with a lot of the recommendations. Here’s the lowdown:

Lights! Lots and lots of lights!

Sue Ann Murley DiVito Realty

Sue Ann Murley says that the Buzzards Bay Depot is all lit up when the Polar Express comes through town. And while it’s technically not the South Coast, Gardens Aglow at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich is not far and it’s got ten miles of lights, a reindeer scavenger hunt, marshmallow roasting and more. If you do go to Heritage Plantation, she suggests checking out Route 6A to see the giant lighted sculptures designed by glass blower Michael Magyar (see more about that here). Buzzards Bay Depot, 70 Main Street, Buzzards Bay (lit for the Polar Express on December 15-18, 21-23) (more about the Polar Express here). Heritage Museums & Gardens  67 Grove Street, Sandwich (Fridays through Sundays, admission prices range up to $18) (see more here).

Sue Ann is a realtor with DiVito Realty with offices in Onset and Hull. She just recently renovated a cute little building in Onset and moved the business in there. It’s all decorated for the holidays….check it out!  DiVito Realty, 247 Onset Avenue, Onset, (508) 295-0213.

Lights! Lots and Lots of Lights!

Cindy Parola Laforce Realty

Cindy Parola says to check out Gellette Road in Fairhaven (“the guy does a great display!”) and the area around Edaville Railroad where all the neighbors decorate their homes. Edaville Railroad itself also hosts a Festival of Lights (more on that here).

Cindy lives in Bourne with her husband Mike and six adorable, patience-testing kitties. LaForce Realty is a boutique real estate brokerage with two offices in Wareham, one office in Lakeville and – soon – one office in Bourne. Laforce Realty, Tyler Avenue, Wareham, (508) 958-5376.


Howe Allen

Howe Allen
Howe Allen Realty

Howe Allen knows his hometown of Fairhaven inside and out and he recommends Green Street and Fort Street in Fairhaven as good spots to enjoy the Christmas lights.

Howe is the owner of Howe Allen Realty with offices in Fairhaven and New Bedford. He is a renovation fanatic. Not a year goes by when renovation projects don’t fill his days (and nights). You can see some of his projects on the Howe Allen Realty FaceBook page. Howe shares his life with his husband, Tim Evans, and two Jack Russell Terriers, Cheer and Dutch. Howe Allen Realty, Center Street, Fairhaven, (888) 491-9993.


Cassy West

Cassy West
Robert Paul Properties

Cassy West says “there’s a great spot on Rt 6 in Fairhaven with an unbelievable house.” She says it’s just the one house but it is really something (see the photo above, look for it near Welcome Street). She also recommends Marion Village for its quaintness this time of year.  

Cassy is a realtor with Robert Paul Properties in its Marion office. After she graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, she worked in the interior design industry and she brings a keen aesthetic to her work everyday as a realtor. She spent her summers as a child in Marion and now lives in Mattapoisett. Find her at Robert Paul Properties, Front Street, Marion, (508) 395-6391.

Comment below if you have other favorite spots for Christmas lights…

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What’s Up? 8 Can’t Miss Events on the South Coast

What's Up? 8 Can't Miss Events on the South Coast

I’ve got a friend from high school who enters an ugly sweater competition every year. I watch the gusto he puts into making his sweater so ugly and I am jealous. I soooo want to be invited to an ugly sweater party. Last year, I even bought an ugly sweater after Christmas at the Vanity Fair outlet. So I’m ready. Sadly, no evites have arrived. Luckily, the New Bedford Local Cultural Center has answered the silent prayer I put out to the universe and has organized the Downtown New Bedford Pub Crawl and Ugly Sweater Competition on December 10, 2016 from 4 to 8 p.m. (proceeds benefit The Neediest Families Fund.) Yay!

This weekend

What's Up? 8 Can't Miss Events on the South Coast

New Bedford Santa Run
(photo courtesy of Medi Thomas)

Also on December 10 is the annual 5K Santa Run in New Bedford. Picture yourself running in a sea of Santa suits. What could be more fun? I can hear some of you demurring, “ah, but I don’t have a santa suit.” No worries (and no excuses) — the santa suit is included with registration! With a 1:00 p.m. start time (12:30 for those under 14 years old), you know what this segues nicely into? Exactly! You can have a bite to eat afterwards, change out of your santa suit and into your ugly sweater! (Participants are encouraged to bring a wrapped toy for those in need.)

The 25th Annual Holiday House Tour in New Bedford takes place on December 10 and 11. I love house tours and I’ve heard rave reviews about this one. Organized by the New Bedford House Preservation Society, you see the historic homes of New Bedford in all their holiday finery. With lovely architecture, interiors and costumed interpretive guides, this is a fantasy for history buffs, interior designers and nosy neighbors. Discounted tickets are available before December 9. See here for more details.

Bravo! The Seaglass Theater debuts this month at Grace Church. You’ll hear New England’s finest professional voices as they celebrate the holiday season with thrilling renditions of O Holy Night, Gesu Bambino, Ave Maria, and many more, as well as traditional carols sung in their original language. Support this new local arts organization by attending its inaugural concert at the historic Grace Church. December 10 at 7:00 p.m. and December 11 at 3:00 p.m.  See here for more details.

Later This Month

What's Up? 8 Can't Miss Events on the South Coast

A special visitor at the Holiday Pops (photo courtesy of New Bedford Symphony Orchestra)

Take an hour break from the hustle and bustle to take in a Holiday Pops concert and hear all your holiday favorites performed by the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra. The 3:30 matinee performance is perfect for younger children and has special surprises in store for them. December 17 at 3:30 and 7:00 p.m. The Zeiterion Theater, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. See here for more information and to buy tickets.

On December 21 at 7:00 pm, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Fairhaven celebrates the Winter Solstice with a Solstice Spiral. Each participant takes a candle, walks the spiral (made of winter greens) to let go of the attachments of the year. In the center, they light the candle from a chalice and retrace their steps, to ponder the possibilities of a new year and to find a spot to lay the candle. The lit candles represent the magic of light and possibility. See the UU Association calendar here.

Month Long Events

The Four Corners Arts Center in Tiverton is hosting their second annual “re Tree” – A Showcase of Trees Created with Recycled Materials. Created by families, individuals, community groups, businesses, artists and arts groups, the trees must be composed of 90% recycled, reclaimed or repurposed materials, must light up and must be outdoor friendly and secure when standing. The lighting kick off takes place on December 10 with seasonal, warm refreshments by the outdoor fire. The trees will be on display through January 4, 2017. 3850 Main Road, Tiverton. See here for more info.

The annual open house at the Fall River Historical Society features spectacular holiday trees in each of the historic Victorian mansion’s rooms. The trees are decorated with different themes and in unexpected ways and they’ve been featured in Victorian Homes magazine, the Boston Globe and WCVB’s Chronicle.  Follow the visit with high tea at the Historical Society’s Easton Tea Room. The open house runs from November 19 – December 30 and admission is free. (holiday hours: weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; weekends 1 – 5 p.m.). For information about the tea room, read more here.

Let us know your favorite local December events in the comment section below.

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Christmas Wreaths: An Old-Fashioned Holiday, Part II

In doing our research on Christmas Tree Farms (see more about that here), we came across a couple of truly unique local wreaths. Handcrafted on the South Coast with care and attention, you gotta pay attention to these. Put them on your door and your neighbors will take notice. (Note: This post was originally published in December 2016. It’s been updated to reflect the 2017 Holiday season.)

David Pomfret

Boxwood Wreath handcrafted by Somerset’s Guy Pomfret (photo courtesy of David Pomfret)

The Real Thing: Handcrafted Boxwood Wreaths

In 1960, the Pomfrets opened a florist in Somerset. That Christmas, Guy Pomfret began crafting boxwood wreaths by hand for his customers. His son David who now runs the florist shop remembers that he could pick out the Pomfret wreaths around town when he was a kid making floral deliveries. “It’s the bow,” he says. “It’s a handmade bow of cranberry red velvet, nicer than anything else you see.”

That’s not the only singular thing about the wreaths. They are made on a moss frame that has been soaked in water. With plenty of moisture, the wreaths last long after the holidays. David says that some customers keep them on their doors until Easter. It’s a way to get through the shortest, darkest days with a little style.

Each wreath is painstakingly crafted with individual boxwood by Guy Pomfret. After a few years of “retirement,” he told David he wanted to start making the boxwood wreaths again. He’s back at it this year. Guy will make each and every one they sell. “It’s a lost art,” David says.

In the late 1990s, David and his wife Jennifer moved to Weinheim, Germany. They lived in the old part of town in a blacksmith’s home dating from the 1700s. On the path to their garden, near the town’s exotic forest, were some boxwood shrubs. David says he knew exactly what his wife would say as soon as she saw the boxwood. “You know what you’re making me for Christmas!” she told him. He remembers making a boxwood wreath for her that year, working out of the bathroom tub. He says, “you can take the boy out of Somerset, but you can’t take the florist out of him.”

He says, “you can take the boy out of Somerset, but you can’t take the florist out of him.”

Their German neighbors were mesmerized by the boxwood wreath. They’d walk by the Pomfret’s home and take pictures. They’d ask David and Jennifer where they found the wreath. David laughs, “I missed an opportunity. I should have sold boxwood wreaths in Germany.”

Instead, he came home in 2002 to take over running the family business. And he’s more than happy that his dad has taken over the boxwood wreaths again.

Check out the wreaths this weekend at Pomfret Florist’s open house on Saturday, December 2, 2017 from noon to 5 p.m.  836 County Street, Somerset. (508) 678-6481. Boxwood wreaths are $49 and up. They also sell handcrafted gifts.

Wreaths with a Coastal Flair

(Photo by Susannah Davis)

The Dandy King wreath
(Photo by Susannah Davis)

Marion landscape designer Susannah Davis first started making wreaths for her friends and family twenty years ago using unusual plants that she had cultivated in her yard. She added Wareham oyster shells to give them a coastal flair.

They were a big hit. So she made them for her landscape design clients. They wanted more. And thus a cottage industry was born. A few years ago, she partnered with Sarah Miquelle of Sarah Brown Studios and they now make over 100 pieces each year: sprays, wreaths and candle rings.

Last year, they shipped to 14 states, as far away as Texas and Washington state. She gets effusive notes from people around the country who love their wreaths. Susannah says, “I’ll have customers tell me, ‘Great Aunt Tillie is SO happy!’”

What makes them so special? Davis uses “wild and wacky” greens with plenty of interesting textures. But she doesn’t tell you exactly what they are. Their very unconventionality is part of the mystery of these wreaths. In fact, Davis offers a competition: “If anyone can tell me the genus and species of every plant in their wreath, I’ll give them a free wreath.”

photo by Susannah Davis

Magnificent Magnolia (photo by Susannah Davis)

Each year, the business keeps increasing. And they keep adding designs. This year, they designed a wreath that showcases magnolia – “people are wild about magnolias,” Susannah says. The original design – with the oyster shells and textured greens – is still a best seller.

One person ordered 12 wreaths this year. “Her whole Christmas list,” Susannah says, “Because it’s the perfect gift. You cannot lose.”

Wreaths are $75, sprays are $50. Orders of 5 or more receive a 10% discount. To order, call (508) 498-4677 or email [email protected]

To keep up with other cool things on the South Coast, sign up here for occasional updates …And shoot us an email at [email protected] if you have suggestions for us to cover.

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Pine’n Fir You – We’ve Got Your Christmas Tree

Photo by Elizabeth Gerardi

Have you always wanted to pick out your own Christmas tree and cut it down right then and there? Me too.

Then, I invariably get distracted by the December lists that multiply all around me. And it’s too late. This year, as a public service, South Coast Almanac is preparing a list to make it as easy as possible to realize your dream. A shout out to Marion’s Eileen Lonergan whose smart idea this was (feel free to email us at [email protected] with your smart ideas for future blog posts).

And remember, this is not just a way to capture the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas. You’re also supporting local farmers, a very current goal. Just think about the care these farmers took: ten (or more) years ago, they planted tiny little things. They cared for and nurtured them until this point in time. For you. It’s actually pretty special.

So, here you go. Here’s the first list we’ve made in December. Even if you’re not ready to bring your tree home yet, you can go and tag it at most of these places. We put the phone numbers in — we recommend you call them before you go to make sure they still have trees!

Pine Crest Tree Farm, 294 Pine Hill Road, Westport. Remember when Clark Griswold took his family out to the woods to pick out their tree in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? The kids were not happy. The Griswolds should have gone to Pine Crest Tree Farm where finding a tree is a fun event for the whole family: a treasure hunt for the kids, hot chocolate and cookies and family pictures in front of the sleigh. Open on weekends, 10-4, closed by December 20. (774) 309-0522.

Keith’s Farm & Orchard, 429 Main Street, Acushnet. When I called Keith’s Farm to confirm their information, Sue Santos said, “Oh, yeah. We’re in the same place. It takes a long time to grow these trees!” She and her husband Keith have been growing Christmas trees since the early 1980s. They offer families a hayride around the property so they can find their perfect trees. You can cut it yourself or have one of their attendants cut it for you (but note that if you cut it yourself, it’s by handsaw only). Open weekends through December 18 from 10-4 (except on December 18 when they close at noon).  (508) 763-2622

Bristlecone Farm, 779 Sodom Road, Westport. A local favorite since 1974 when the Farias family started planting Christmas trees. Tag a tree and come back for it, or do it all on the same day (though they don’t recommend you take a tree home too early in the month). You pick it out, the crew cuts and wraps it. Open 7 days a week, 9-4. (508) 636-2552.

Mockingbird Hill Trees, 147 Rhode Island Road (Rte. 79), Lakeville.  The Simmons family has been raising Christmas trees since 1975; Margo Simmons knows adult customers who first came as babies with their families. Mockingbird Hill offers a wagon ride to the fields to look at the trees and, on weekends, they have coffee, hot chocolate and sometimes Santa (he’ll be there 10-3 the first two weekends in December). They’ll cut your tree or you can cut it yourself with a handsaw. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10-4. (508) 947-6712.

Clark’s Christmas Tree Farm, 4191 Main Road, Tiverton. This is a picture perfect Christmas tree farm. Just take a look at our featured photo above (courtesy of Elizabeth Gerardi whom you can find at New England Belle). After picking your tree, enjoy hot cider and treats in an old post and beam barn. Open Saturdays and Sundays, 10-4, until they sell out. (401) 624-4119.

Patchet Brook Tree Farm, 4484 Main Road, Tiverton. The farm has been in Jean Bento’s family since 1905. Originally a vegetable farm with animals, Jean planted the first Christmas tree over 30 years ago. Now, they have about 15 acres of Christmas trees in all kinds of varieties. They do it all. You get a short hayride into the fields to pick out your tree. They’ll cut it down (or help you cut it down), wrap it, put it on your car and tie it off. “We’re a full service gas station,” Jay Bento jokes. A small shop has hot chocolate and cookies with some honey, candles, and maple syrup for sale. Open weekdays from noon-4, weekends from 10-4. (401) 624-4872. (Hayrides are only provided on the weekends.)

Boughs & Berry Farm, 255 Peckham Road, Little Compton. This farm has been in Elinor Gavin’s family her whole life. Her father and grandfather farmed the land. In 1982, she and her husband Donald planted Christmas trees. Regulars have been coming ever since. Kids love the Charlie Brown Christmas tree hidden away. If they find it, they get a lollipop. Open Fridays through Sundays, 9-4. (401) 635-8582.

Don’t forget the wreaths!

Stay tuned — tomorrow we’ll reveal some special South Coast wreaths.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

And as a treat for reading all the way through, here’s that scene from Christmas Vacation when the Griswolds go out to find their tree in the forest. (“Clark, Audrey’s frozen from the waist down.”) Head to one of our South Coast Christmas tree farms and we promise that you’ll have more fun than the Griswolds.

Happy December!

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