If you're not cutting down your own Christmas tree this year and don't have a plastic one to assemble, you have an array of options for buying a fresh tree right here in Novato.
The seasonal lots we had last year are all up and running again this year, but there are a few new details.
The cut-your-own places are all to the north, and some large retail stores and nurseries in town have trees stacked in front of their front doors. But there are three seasonal lots within the city limits and one just over the southern border that are great options for you.
ROTARY CLUB TREE LOT
If you're determined to support a good cause, consider the Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise's annual tree lot at the St. Vincent's property in Marinwood, a mile south of Novato off Highway 101. It is set up to support local, regional and worldwide benefit programs as nonprofits such as the St. Vincent School for Boys and local Boy Scout of America units. Proceeds also end up contributing to the purchase of smoke detectors for mobile homes, dictionaries for third-graders, the fishing program at Scottsdale Pond and disaster relief efforts around the world. Trees generally run $35-$85, and there are wreaths and garlands for sale as well. You can order and pay for a tree online at novatosunriserotary.org, or call 415-883-0800 and leave a message, a Sunrise Rotarian will contact you. If you bring a camera, a Rotarian volunteering his time will take a family photo for you. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends, 3-6 p.m. Fridays. Closed Mondays through Thursdays.
This is your best no-frills choice. Ian's Trees operates the "No Tree Over $50" seasonal lot on Redwood Boulevard just north of Trader Joe's, Pharmaca and Starbucks. Ian's, based in San Anselmo, has sold Christmas trees for 34 years, including 22 at a Mill Valley location and about 17 in Novato (it used to be where the Trader Joe's parking lot is now). Most of the trees are noble firs from Oregon with a few Douglas and grand firs mixed in. The trees, up to 9 feet, move quickly off this lot because of the prices, and new shipments come in weekly. Workers will put the tree on your vehicle roof and tie it down for you. This is pretty much a lot designed for the “get a deal and scram” crowd. Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily until a few days before Christmas. Phone: 847-3762.
Deann DaSilva and PeeBee van den Toorn, cousins and longtime Novato residents, decided to open their seasonal lot for the first time last year on a piece of property owned by their family at 7416 Redwood Blvd., right next to Chianti Cucina Ristorante. DaSilva and van den Troon emphasize the family experience at their lot, which has trees supplied by the Novato/Petaluma-based Pronzini family. The Cousins’ lot will have music, crafts, a petting zoo and a chance for parents to take their own photos of the kids with Santa, who is slated to appear from noon to 2 p.m. on Dec. 8-9. Make sure to check the full schedule on the website if you're counting on seeing Santa or the petting zoo. Garland, wreaths, mistletoe and other items will be on sale, and there will be a donation box for School Fuel, the nonprofit that supports Novato public schools. Frank McGovern, a beloved character who operated a tree lot on McClay Road for more than 30 years two years ago, can be found helping out his neighbors. Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily until inventory runs out. Phone: 250-6117.
DON’S CHRISTMAS TREES
There was a lot of attention given to this location over the past year as California Bay Nurseries closed and it became a possible future site for In-N-Out Burger (the chain is now looking to build at Vintage Oaks). But Don's is back at 399 Entrada Drive near Inn Marin and the Dollar Tree store in Ignacio. Tom Dawson of Napa is marking his 31st year operating this lot. Trees, mostly firs, are mostly in the $50-$85 range. There isn’t much for kids here, but you can find some seasonal items such as wreaths and garland. Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Dec. 23. Phone: 382-1231.
Are we missing any seasonal lots? Let us know.