Choosing a tree can be quick and easy, slightly stressful or as it turns out, it can be the most glorious, magical Christmas experience for the whole family. If you choose to visit Spithandle Nursery that’s certainly what you’re going to get. And it makes for some super cute photos too.

A family run affair since 1983, this place just gets better and better each year we visit. We all know smaller businesses need our custom and it’s hard to find good independent retailers of Christmas trees. These guys go above and beyond just selling organically home grown Christmas trees – they offer a complete experience.

Spithandle Nursery feels like a well kept secret, nestled in the woods near Ashurst, West Sussex. From the 1st of December, you’ll find trees galore to choose from. Some are still in the ground for you to dig up yourselves (or compare heights with if you’re a 5 year old). Or you can head inside the greenhouse where there are literally hundreds of non-drop Norway spruce, all shapes and sizes, some pot grown. You can warm yourself by the wood burner and enjoy free hot chocolate and mince pies. Throughout December there are often activities on hand to try including wreath making and there are a handmade cards, wax papers, lucky dip, logs for the fire, jams and eggs for sale. And dusk, candles are lit and it takes on an even more wonderfully festive atmosphere. They even offer pony rides for the smallest of visitors making it a truly magical experience for the whole family.

These guys are the real deal and visiting them is firmly embedded as a family tradition for us each year. This is so much more than just buying the tree to decorate. It’s a very special shared experience. And in these overly commercial times, companies like Spithandle need our support more than ever.

And even if you’re not local to Ashurst, you might be surprised at what a little google search might yield. You might find great independent nurseries near where you live.