the holidays don't officially start for my family until after we complete the annual trip up to the Drysdales tree farm (Ballantrae location) and cut down our christmas trees. even before i was born, my parents and their friends started this tradition to kick off the holidays. this year the visit was bittersweet, because as we were greeted by the same cheerful faces we always see, they informed us that sadly this was going to be the farms last year as the property was being handed over to the ministry of natural resources after the season closed. after a few frozen tears and hugs, we braved the hike and hunt, and spent a good hour or more looking for our perfect trees deep in the woods. nothing, i repeat, nothing is better than being in the open fresh air, with a cold face, surrounded by the falling snow and smell of pine. of course no trip to the tree farm is ever complete without a catch up chat with old man Drysdale himself, followed by the traditional "who has to pay for the trees this year" coin toss, and then sitting around the bonfire sipping on hot chocolates and munching on roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. it's a little sad to know we won't be going back to this farm in the years to come, but i'm so glad for this tradition that we have. it doesn't matter what is going on or where we are, we always make time for this little tree farm and our family.