I’m so delighted to be visiting The Chicks space today, I think they are all fabulous ladies, whom I’m blessed to know. I’m Kristen Duke, and I like to Capture Joy in all aspects of life, over on my site. It started with photography, and now I love to share so much more! Not only do I share photo tips such as what camera to buy, I also share home DIY projects such as the treehouse we just built, recipes my kids gobble down like Chicken Curry Broccoli, as well as parties like my daughters’ Pretty Purple Party. If you need some light reading over the holidays, look for my love story written chapter by chapter (it’s a doozy!) I’m also the author of Say NO to Auto, a beginner photography book and video workshop.

Kristen Duke

I am a sucker for a any kind of tradition all year long. I am a big believer that traditions of any kind whether it be a special plate used on your birthday, an outing you take on a holiday, or a meal you eat on the first day of school, tie a family closer together. So I look for little traditions wherever I can. We have quite a few traditions at Christmas time, but one of my favorites is cutting down a Christmas tree as a family.

christmas tree farm

This isn’t something I ever did growing up. We had fake trees–many of them. I think one year I counted 12 (some big, some small). My mom really got into Christmas decoration, and each tree had a theme: Angels, crystals, peach & blue, Hallmark crayon ornaments, kids ornaments, etc. Unlike my husband, I don’t think it’s too odd to have 2 trees. One is fake and tall, and I decorate it with my pretties. The other we cut down, and the kids decorate it with ornaments through the years (even from mine and my husbands childhoods).


Back to our tradition. There is a tree farm about 45 minutes away from us, and we make the trek every year to cut down a tree. My husband grew up with real trees, and I’ve come to enjoy the scent and the Christmas-y feel. It’s not like Oregon where you can go up in the mountains and cut down a wild tree, these are fields of perfectly curated trees, and my husband and kids see it as part of the tradition to hunt for THE. PERFECT. TREE. It’s Texas, so some years it can be chilly, while others we are wearing shorts in December. It’s a great farm complete with a tractor ride. This picture is after we did a color run last year. It was right next to the tree farm, so why not combine the trips?

family fun

color run

This shot is from a few years ago. Sometimes I have the kids dress in “Christmas colors” for optimal picture taking experience. Not this time, we were a grab bag. Can you tell how warm it is in Texas in December? I think one year it was cold..it must have been too cold to take pictures.

christmas tradition

Here is a fun action shot of the cutting

cutting down tree

And the dragging back to the car

the perfect christmas tree

It’s a really fun Christmas tradition, that my kids LOVE, and so do I! I’ll mention it to friends, and a lot of people don’t realize the tree farm is so close. If you think you don’t have one near, look it up! I’d drive up to 2 hours for the experience…

Here are a few of our favorite Christmas treats that we like to enjoy at Christmas time as well:

Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke Christmas treats

Christmas Tree Bread//Chocolate Peppermint Cookies//Corn Flake Christmas Wreath

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