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Thomas Cloete drops off a newly cut Christmas tree at the estate.
Thomas Cloete drops off a newly cut Christmas tree at the estate. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
Thomas Cloete drops off a newly cut Christmas tree at the estate.
Thomas Cloete drops off a newly cut Christmas tree at the estate. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
Rosemary Flack wraps up a Christmas tree for a customer at the Elveden Estate and Farm.
Rosemary Flack wraps up a Christmas tree for a customer at the Elveden Estate and Farm. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

ELVEDEN — Those strong on Christmas traditions may be searching for a real Christmas tree this year to help rekindle the holiday spirit in a way that’s not possible with a plastic tree out of a box.

It may be the tradition of collecting your own pine or its delightful outdoor scent and sap deposits that lure you. Whatever the reason, tree vendors are popping up everywhere to meet those needs.

A massive Christmas tree collection, with hundreds of decorated trees on display plus many more for sale, recently set up shop at the Elveden Estate and Farms a few miles from RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall.

“They’ll never make up for a real tree,” Rosemary Flack, one of the tree vendors, said about the plastic kind.

This is the 29th year that Flack has been selling Christmas trees to the public. Her stock, grown locally, provides customers with a variety of tree species, including Scotch pine, Norway spruce and Nordmann fir. Tree sizes reach up to 12 feet tall and prices range from 10 pounds to 120 pounds, she said.

To attract potential customers, especially ones with children, the Elveden holds a Christmas Experience event every weekend up to and including Christmas Eve. The weekend events have frequent visits from Santa Claus, elves and real-live reindeer entertaining youngsters.

“It’s such a magical experience,” Flack said, adding that the events can entertain all ages, not just children.

“We had a 90-year-old lady come in last week,” she said. “Everyone is very welcome to join in the fun.”

The Elveden estate sells more than just Christmas trees, though. Refurbished back in October, the estate’s restaurant and shop has Christmas ornaments, a deli with venison and other local game, a decent selection of bottled wines, vegetables, sweets and jarred jams, honey and sauces from local suppliers.

Laura Garrod, who works at the estate’s administrative office, said that Elveden estate is a bit like a farmer’s market. Much of the products are grown or made locally and the establishment is surrounded by farmland.

After the current Christmas Experience event, Garrod said the estate is planning on holding other themed events next year. Be sure to check the local listings, she said.

Following the holidays, Christmas trees bought at the estate can be returned and mulched into wood chips free of charge.

“We’re more than happy to do that. We don’t like to see [trees] just dumped off on the side of roads,” Flack said, who added customers need to call the estate first before bringing their tree.

Getting thereElveden Estate and Farm is just north of the A11 and B1106 intersection near Thetford.

As well as selling Christmas trees, local foods and other products, the estate holds a Christmas Experience every weekend until Christmas Eve. The experience includes frequent visits from Santa Claus, elves and live reindeer. For more information on Elveden Estate, check out their Web site at www.elveden.com or call 01842 898068.

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