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Christmas traditions at Midland Holiday Pines

Families around the Kansas City area take a trip out to the Shawnee Christmas tree farm every year

For millions of families across the United States, their holiday season isn’t complete without a trip to their local Christmas tree farm. Families around the Kansas City area take a trip every year out to the Midland Holiday Pines in Shawnee, driving from all over the Kansas City metropolitan area to select and cut down the perfect tree. 

The farm’s owners, Philip and Judy Wegman, began selling trees in 2002. They love that the job allows them to be a part of such a special Christmas tradition for all the families they’ve grown to know and love. 

“It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy when the families come out and they bring the children,” Philip says. “I also don’t see any grumpy people when they’re out at a Christmas tree farm. They’re happy and glad to be there.”

The retired husband and wife both come from an agricultural background and say they “love watching things grow.”

The work to create the magical tree farm happens all-year long. While the farm has nearly 3,000 trees, they aren’t all ready to be sold at the same time. In the spring, stumps of trees sold the previous year must be cut down and replaced with a new seedling. Philip says it’s crucial to keep down weeds around the trees, which helps keep insects away. 

In the first or second week of June, all of the trees must be sheared, which creates the Christmas tree shape. “Otherwise it will not look like a Christmas tree, it will look like a wild bush,” he says. 

Keep in mind, it takes at least seven years for the planted seedling to grow into a sellable tree. 

“It’s not a fast process like some normal farm operations,” Philip says. 

Mowing around the trees and keeping the grass short is crucial, as well as keeping a close eye out for insects or fungus growing on trees. The Wegmans work with entomologists at Kansas State University to make sure their trees are free from any harmful critters. They also make a point to use a minimal amount of chemicals. 

There’s no shortage of jobs to be done around the farm during the year. All the hard work pays off when the Wegmans get to see their customers. 

“Some of them are almost family,” Judy says. 

During the weeks leading up to the farm’s selling season, all of the trees that are cut from the field to be sold go through a manicure session to give them the perfect look. They’re put through several machines that shake off dead needles and condense the branches so they fit nicely in a trunk, on top of a car and through a doorway. 

The meticulous work continues by measuring the height of every single tree that will be sold. 

“When a customer comes to the tree farm, they don’t have to wonder how tall is this tree, how much is it going to cost,” Judy says. 

Philip says Midland Holiday Pines is what he calls a “choose and cut” Christmas tree farm, which means customers can go out into the field and use a handsaw to cut down their own tree. 

“We also order a number of pre-cut trees that don’t grow in this climate here in Kansas, such as Fraser firs and balsam firs,” he says, adding that the trees brought in that are already cut are opened so families can find exactly what they’re looking for. 

“Trees are kind of interesting,” Judy says. “One tree may be beautiful to one family and ugly to the next, and we all have a different point of view.” 

From the tree’s height and weight to the stability of its branches, there’s a tree for everyone at Midland Holiday Pines. 

Judy says one of her favorite parts of the job is watching kids play hide-and-seek and run through the farm having fun. “They have a jolly good time, and they argue over which tree is right, and family dynamics become interesting.” 

Over the years, the Wegmans have come to know hundreds of families who come back year after year. 

“We’ve seen one girl go from a 3 or 4-year-old to a 24-year-old,” Judy says. “We have some families that have been with us from the very beginning.”

When the tree-selling season comes to a close, the Wegmans are tired but make sure to select their own tree and decorate it for Christmas. 

They’re thankful to every customer who chooses to start their holiday season at their farm. 

“We greatly appreciate you, and we enjoy seeing you each year and catching up with what’s going on in your lives,” Philip says.