The scent of holidays hangs in the hair at Mott’s Christmas Tree Farm, but it only gets better when you walk into the Christmas Barn. Customers come from all over southern Michigan to the Christmas Barn at 16200 South 21st Street in Vicksburg for their holiday fix, according to owners Mardee and Phil Mott. Their unique establishment has homegrown Christmas trees for sale and some of the best Michigan holly, grown right here on peat bogs which is sold throughout the U.S.
Besides the outdoor symbols of the season, Mardee has been decorating the old barn inside with a veritable cornucopia of Christmas décor. This year she says the trend is back to the basics, especially in colors. No more chartreuse she claims. While browsing the wreaths, the specially designed centerpiece arrangements, and the various ornaments, customers can feast on popcorn, peanuts, and hot mulled cider. It just makes the whole experience a special day for the families who have established a trip to Mott’s Christmas Barn to launch their tradition celebration, Mott proclaims.
The Mott’s originally moved to what seemed like rural Vicksburg over 35 years ago to cultivate and grow the ilex verticillata, commonly known as Michigan Holly. Phil’s relatives had been making a small business out of shipping the holly in the Midwest. Now it can even be found in stores and specialty shops on both coasts but it’s the best and freshest right on 21st Street according to those who love to decorate their homes with the little red berries.
The Christmas tree business grew out of the holly sales over 20 years ago. It has grown into a business where families can go out into the field, pick out their tree as it stands and cut it down themselves. The Mott’s offer wagon tours to help the selection process, however the wagon is pulled by a tractor and not the horses used in the old days.
The various spruce, fir, and pine trees are sheared and shaped, sprayed for disease control, mechanically shaken, netted or tied and drilled for an upright stand (upon request) before a customer leaves the property with a tree tied to the top of their vehicle. In this neck of the woods, a trip to Mott’s at Christmastime is one of the season’s nicest traditions.