Christmas on the Farm


Christmas in Mississippi is a sight to behold, doors and mailboxes decked with wreaths, landscapes laced with lights, front porches adorned with red and green and trees.

Decoration is one of the most celebrated traditions of Christmastime, and the season is just around the corner. By November, Madison countians will begin eagerly preparing for the season, unpacking ornaments, unraveling lights, and of course, making room for the piece de resistance: the Christmas tree. 

Evergreens have long represented resilience and new beginnings, but they didn’t become symbols of Christmas for quite some time. Trees ornamented with lit candles decorated homes in Germany as early as the 16th century, and later among the Pennsylvania Dutch. Still, it was a mostly unpopular practice, and even pagan to the Puritans. It wasn’t until trendsetter extraordinaire Queen Victoria decorated a royal tree of her own in 1846 that Christmas trees became fashionable practice.

With the advent of electricity, string lights replaced lit candles, and edible garlands and homemade ornaments were mostly ushered out by decorations of glass, plastic, and cloth. Still, there’s a cornucopia of ways to decorate a tree: ribbons, glitter, paper chains, popcorn garlands, minimalism, maximalism, sentimentalism – and the list goes on. 

Judith Lowery, though, prefers to keep it simple: “The tree I decorate very modestly, because I think the land is the prettiest decoration.”

Lowery is the owner and operator of the Lowery Family Farm, lovingly dubbed The Resting Place. The farm, located in Flora boasts beautiful landscape: rolling hills, towering trees, and captivating flora and fauna, all centric around a glittering lake. This time of year, the Lowery Family Farm sells Christmas trees. Leyland Cypresses and Mississippi cedars are grown on the property, and the farm additionally offers Frasier firs grown in North Carolina. 

The farm is in operation year-round. They offer walking tours of the property, attract local schools for one-of-a-kind field trips, and even boast a charming pumpkin patch during the fall. 

Christmastime, though, is a special season for The Resting Place.

“I’ve got photographers that come out and take pictures in the field, and then I have a sweet following of people that have been buying their trees from us for, this’ll be the eleventh year,” Lowery says. “The city of Clinton will have a 15-foot tree of ours in front of City Hall, and Mississippi College uses our trees for the lighting of the quad, and they’ve done that for a decade also.” 

The season is hectic for the farm and others like it, especially in the wake of a drought in 2015, a pandemic in 2020, and all the challenges of nurturing a crop of Christmas trees.

To Lowery, the work is worth it. The beating heart behind her Christmas tree business is her love for the community and for the storied hills of Flora. “It’s something you do out of love – there’s not a lot of profit. I’m going to be very honest: that’s why the trees that we can profit in is not the ones we grow in the ground. We grow that out of love for the public.”

Plus, she says, “there’s nothing neater than standing in a field of Christmas trees and watching families pick them out.” 

It is certainly a heartwarming scene: parents and children united, eyes filled with wonder, faces red from the cold. It is a perfect picture of the spirit the season: the spirit of giving, sharing, and togetherness.

Truly, Christmas traditions like picking out and decorating a tree are just bells and whistles on a holiday with a much bigger meaning. Still, they are cherished for the levity and unity they bring. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the season, but whether the Christmas tree is pulled from the attic and assembled painstakingly or brought home from the lot on a pick-up truck, the true joy of the tradition is in the togetherness it inspires.