ST PAUL, Minn. — Once the Thanksgiving meal is done, the dishes cleared away and last lingering guests shooed out the door, there is one thing on most people's minds: putting up holiday decorations. 

And for many, buying a Christmas tree is a vital first step. 

Most local tree farms open up for sales after Thanksgiving. A quick search of the Minnesota Grown Directory can help you search by farm, or by the distance from your home to your new tree. 

But besides making your home look festive, local tree farms are also helping the environment. 

According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Christmas tree farms can plant as many as three new seedlings for every mature tree they cut down. These trees pull carbon dioxide from the air, provide habitat for wildlife, and the trees can be recycled or composted after the holidays are over. 

If you've never been to a Christmas tree farm to choose your own tree, you should know that they can also provide a day of fun for the family. Many tree farms offer sleigh rides, games or visits with Santa. 

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This site features eight tree farms around the Twin Cities, and a quick online search can help you find just what you're looking for in a holiday tree. 

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