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Clarks Hill Christmas Tree Farm

Making Christmas Magic Is a Year Round Occupation for the Mills Family

Article by Ashley Elvis

Photography by Rebecca Williams and Lightweight Photography

Originally published in Aiken City Lifestyle

It’s time to pack up the fall decor and make room for Christmas! And it starts with the all-important job of choosing the perfect tree to fit snugly in that designated corner of the den or to fill the big window in the living room. There’s something magical about picking out just the right one to bring home, cutting the netting off, letting the limbs fall, wrestling with the tree stand, and finding just the right position for the Christmas tree to show off the lights and ornaments. 

This year, let that magic begin at Clarks Hill Christmas Tree Farm. Owned and operated by Charlie Mills and his wife, Nancy, and located in Edgefield County, about 30 minutes from Aiken, this tree farm gives families a fun and festive experience to find a Christmas tree and make beautiful memories together. The family land, which had once been used for row crops, sat empty after Mills’ father retired, so in 1983, Mills decided to plant Christmas trees, mainly because “the land needed to be doing something…and because we didn’t have a lot of money and Christmas trees don’t take a lot of money to get into”. The first year Mills sold trees, he sold about 100. The following year, after running a tree giveaway advertising deal held during WBBQ’s “Goldie Oldie Hour,” sales increased 1200% and haven’t slowed down since. 

Speaking of not slowing down, Mills works every day, year-round, to run this farm with Nancy right by his side, handling office matters. The public sees the hustle and bustle during peak season, with employees and family members helping to move things along smoothly. Still, the off-season is so important to a successful holiday season. And Mills does it almost entirely on his own. While November and December are festive and magical, January through October is much quieter on the farm. The work is behind the scenes, but it's just as busy. Mills begins after the first of the year with clearing out around all of the cut stumps and then moves on to planting, pruning, spraying and mowing. He even cuts and roots the trees himself to replant! It’s a dedication to hard work and making Clarks Hill Christmas Tree Farm a wonderful experience for others that drives him. 

The sprawling farm of around 40 acres offers seven different types of trees, from pines to cypresses to cedars and even the stunning Carolina Sapphire. With so many varieties and sizes, there is a tree for everyone and every space. Families arrive in the parking lot and are treated to a hay ride out to the trees, where the smell of fresh pine fills the air. After walking along the rows and choosing the tree, employees cut it down and load it up for the ride back. Once back at the farmhouse and office, customers can hang out and enjoy all that the Mills offer their guests. There’s a concession stand with hot chocolate and boiled peanuts, as well as some cornhole games, swings and picnic tables. Fresh greenery is also available: wreaths, garland, kissing balls, centerpieces and mailbox swags. Each one is handmade by Charlie and Nancy Mills-just another testament to their dedication to the business and their customers. 

Sure, there are trees to grab after grocery shopping or at big box home improvement stores, but the experience people get from Clarks Hill Tree Farm is different. Memories are made, traditions continue, and the magic of Christmas is found there with the Mills.

Visit them this season for a wonderful family adventure to start the Christmas excitement. Clarks Hills Christmas Tree Farm’s opening day is the Friday after Thanksgiving. Visit their website at for hours and directions.

  • "Kicking Stumps"  in the off season.