PDT Staff Writer
WEST UNION — There are people in the last two generations of American families who have never experienced one of the great events of the holiday season. In the hustle and bustle of the commercial Christmas season we have gotten out of the habit of piling the family into the family vehicle and making the trip to the tree farm, where the perfect tree is selected, bundled, and taken home for decorating.
At Miller’s Christmas Trees located at 1600 Eckmansville Road, in West Union, that tradition has continued for the last 20 years.
“The first year that we were open here, we didn’t live here. We lived back in Cincinnati,” Eileen Miller said. “The first year the turnout was good. It wasn’t fantastic, but every year after that the business has increased. It has slowed down a little bit, but it is very consistent because we have primarily the same people who come to get a tree every year. They come from everywhere. We do have a lot of folks who come from Portsmouth.”
Miller says there is a reason families like to come and cut a fresh tree each year.
“Cutting a fresh tree is an experience,” Miller said. “A lot of these kids think Christmas trees come in a box. So it’s an experience for the family to come out and select a tree and cut it (saws are provided), and because of the fragrance of a real tree in the home. Then there’s decorating. The whole family takes part in it. A lot of the parents let the kids choose the tree. They let the older kids help them saw it down, and help them drag it through the field up to the building. That is all part of it.”
Miller says second generations are now coming in to select trees.
“And that makes me feel like a fossil,” Miller said. “They say, ‘I came here when I was little, and I want to carry it on.’”
There are other processes involved in the preparation of that tree before it is loaded into the family vehicle for the trip home.
“We have a tree shaker that gets all of the garbage out of the tree; all the dead needles. It makes it nice for mom and dad that they’re not getting needles in their feet in July,” Miller said. “And it’s also very entertaining to the kids. Plus it fluffs it up and gets the dust out of it. After that the tree is put in a bailer where it’s compressed in this netting material for the trip home, because so many people have smaller cars.”
Eileen says the next thing she enjoys is serving complimentary hot chocolate and cookies for the children, coffee for the adults.
Every year, the children and grandchildren make the trek back to the farm to help set up for the season, which this year is five weeks long because of the earlier Thanksgiving.
“They were here for the best part of two weeks, helping us set up the building, and from the very bottom up,” Miller said. “On the weekend we have our son. We have two other sons who are living in Cincinnati that come here; and we have two daughters, and their husbands help. We have 19 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.”
In addition to scotch and white pines priced from $20 to $30, and spruce and fir trees from $25 to $35, Eileen says she makes wreathes and swags daily. Miller’s Christmas Trees is located on Eckmansville Road. You can get to the tree farm by going west on Ohio 125 to West Union, staying on 125 through West Union, traveling five miles to Eckmansville Road. Miller says there are signs leading to the farm, which is open from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., closed on Monday. They can also be reached at 937-544-2220.
Eileen and Bob not only look forward to those customers who have come back year after year, generation after generation, but people who would like to start a new tradition letting their children and grandchildren experiences one of the true traditions of the Christmas season.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com.