The great Christmas tree adventure

By Kitsey Burns Harrison -

Kitsey’s Kitchen | Kitsey Burns Harrison

My tree at the Slaughter Tree Farm in Virginia.

Red Velvet cream cheese and Oreo stuffed brownie

The peacock Christmas tree.

Black Friday shopping is just not a holiday tradition I can get in to. The only reason at all that I ever get up before dawn is if I’m headed to the beach. Putting up the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving weekend is, however, a tradition I can get behind. And so it was that reason, Dad and I found ourselves on a little adventure the Saturday after turkey day.

Our good friend Patty has been bringing us our tree for many years now. She makes a trip to the mountains of Virginia with her family every year on Thanksgiving weekend and has been kind enough to pick us up a tree also. Since this year we were putting up two trees — one at dad’s house and one at my house — we decided to make the trip ourselves. I was really hoping to make this a fun outing for my husband and I since it is our first Christmas as a married couple, but alas, our schedules are too crazy. Morgan and I are in two different holiday theater productions this year and are practically ships passing in the night.

Luckily, Dad is always up for a road trip so off we went to find Slaughter Tree Farm. The weather on Thanksgiving weekend was lovely so it was a nice day for the trip, although it took us much longer than we anticipated. While the internet and smart phones are wonderful inventions, they don’t always lead you in the right direction. I typed in the name of the tree farm into my smartphone and off we went. We arrived at the Slaughter Tree Farm alright, only it was their shipping center and office, not the actual location where you pick and cut your tree. If I had been smart instead of relying on my phone, I would have called Patty and gotten the directions from her.

Nevertheless, Dad and I enjoyed the trip and the sights along the way. There are some adorable little shops in Floyd, Virginia, we discovered.

At last we arrived at our correct destination and chose a tree for both of our homes. There were quite a few other families out choosing a tree, but being surrounded by all the lovely trees spread out over the rolling hillsides was much better than battling shoppers on Black Friday.

Morgan and I did have some time together on Sunday to decorate our Christmas Tree. Incidentally, it was also our three-month wedding anniversary. In honor of our first year of marriage our tree is decorated in peacock colors, the same as our wedding theme. I love it, although Morgan said he was not aware when we chose the peacock theme for the wedding that it would follow us forever. Perhaps not forever, but it did seem fitting for the first year at least, and especially since I still have lots of peacock feather decorations leftover from our wedding.

Do you have a theme for your Christmas tree? Or do you just go all out with red, green and whatever strikes your fancy? I’d love to know about your favorite holiday traditions, and of course any fun recipes you make around this time of year. Contact me at or 336-518-3049.

Below is a recipe we made a few weeks ago that is lovely for this time of year!

Oreo stuffed Red Velvet brownies (recipe from


For the brownies

• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• 1½ teaspoons baking powder

• ½ teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon cocoa powder

• ⅓ cup butter, melted

• 1 cup packed brown sugar

• 1 egg

• 2 teaspoons red food coloring

• 1 teaspoons vanilla extract


• 8 oz cream cheese, softened

• ½ cup sugar

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 12 Oreos, roughly crushed (about 5 oz)


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with foil or parchment paper, then spray with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. In another bowl, mix together the butter and brown sugar. Add in the egg, food coloring and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla. Stir in the Oreos until evenly combined. Pour half of the red velvet brownie batter into the prepared pan. Smooth with a knife, spoon or offset spatula. Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of the red velvet batter. Drop the remaining red velvet batter over the top and carefully spread evenly over the top. Bake in the preheated oven until a tester comes out with only a few red velvet crumbs on it, about 30 minutes. Cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting into squares.

Kitsey Burns Harrison is a reporter for The Yadkin Ripple, here she shares her musings on food, life and love. She can be reached at 336-518-3049 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.

Kitsey’s Kitchen | Kitsey Burns Harrison’s Kitchen | Kitsey Burns Harrison

My tree at the Slaughter Tree Farm in Virginia. tree at the Slaughter Tree Farm in Virginia.

Red Velvet cream cheese and Oreo stuffed brownie Velvet cream cheese and Oreo stuffed brownie

The peacock Christmas tree. peacock Christmas tree.

By Kitsey Burns Harrison

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