by Katie Zakrzewski | Photos by Jamison Mosley
While COVID-19 may change the way we celebrate Christmas as we know it, one holiday staple remains unshaken: the Christmas tree. And with more than 40 years of experience running a choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm, Randy Motley has established a Christmas tradition for many Central Arkansas families.
“I meet people who came to our farm as a kid 25 years ago and are now bringing their kids,” Motley says. “That proves to me that memories truly last.”
Motley’s Christmas Tree Farm has grown and expanded over the years, from a small selection of trees to a now-bustling holiday wonderland. The farm features plenty of attractions, such as a hayride, a pig race, a pirate ship, a petting zoo, a jump pillow, a cow train and much more.
Motley mentions that he and his farm are strict on health guidelines and regulations.
The chance to choose and cut your own tree remains a formidable competitor to plastic trees, for the ease and convenience of store-bought is replaced with Mother Nature’s memory maker. And the process is easy. Take a leisurely stroll through acres of Christmas trees, select and saw the perfect tree with tools provided by the farm, then a wagon will haul your tree in from the field. While your Christmas Tree is prepped and loaded up for the ride home, enjoy a warm, delicious cup of complimentary hot chocolate.
The hardest part is choosing the right piece of timber among so many options. Motley’s Tree Farm grows more than 8,000 beautiful trees of the soft-needled Leyland Cypress and Carolina Sapphire varieties at any given time and carefully nurtures them year-round to offer the best selection of Christmas trees in the state.
It’s no wonder Motley’s Tree Farm landed on Southern Living’s list of The South’s Best Christmas Tree Farms.
If you’d rather not try your hand at cutting your own tree, Motley’s also offers a fine selection of pre-cut Fraser firs. The Fraser fir’s pleasant fragrance, dark green and brushed silver coloring and sturdy shape are sought-after characteristics, making it one of our nation’s most popular Christmas tree species. Each year, Motley travels to the hills of North Carolina to hand choose the Fraser firs that, once mature, will be delivered to his farm for the season.
After they arrive, he grooms and properly displays them with their trunks submerged in a large vat of water to keep them farm-fresh, which is something big box stores and parking lot tree stands can’t do with limited space. Before a pre-cut Fraser fir leaves Motley’s Tree Farm, the trunk is trimmed to extend the tree’s longevity.
Motley acknowledges that Christmas this year looks different than it has before, but it hasn’t dampened his spirits.
“People can’t travel as much this year as they normally would, due to COVID-19 health and travel restrictions and regulations,” Motley says. “This would be the perfect year to start a family tradition at home with a Motley’s Christmas tree.”