Now that Thanksgiving has passed, most people's attention has turned fully towards Christmas. Black Friday is the unofficial kickoff to the gift giving season, as people shop furiously for the items they want to place under the tree.

Speaking of that tree, there's plenty of options on how you'll acquire one. Many people opt for an artificial tree, as it's easy to set up and tear down. But if you're going for a more traditional route, there are plenty of rules in place you should know about.

Rear view of young couple at Christmas tree lot.
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It's Not Illegal to Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree, but There Are Rules

Maine is covered in wooded area, which has led many people to believe that all of the wooded area is up for grabs when deciding on a Christmas tree. Bad news, it is not. If you're planning on cutting down your own Christmas tree, you'll need to abide by some specific rules before venturing into the great wilderness.

Father and Son Carrying Christmas Tree

Obtain Landowner Permission Before Cutting Down a Tree

There are tree farms throughout Maine that operate as a business, and allow you to pay a flat fee and cut down your own tree on their property. But if you plan to venture into the woods outside of a tree farm, you must obtain written permission from a landowner before cutting any tree down. Verbal permission doesn't cut it if there's an eventual dispute.

Rows of douglas fir Christmas trees at local Christmas tree farm.

You Should Register Your Tree With the State

Another strange provision when it comes to cutting your own tree is the registration element. There's a $5 licensing fee in Maine, which was meant to keep track of anyone and everyone selling Christmas trees during the holiday season. If you are bypassing commercial outlets and going straight to the forest, you should pay the fee and register is your tree with the state. Why?


There Are Penalties if There's a Tree Dispute

The last thing anyone wants during Christmas is a tree dispute, but it happens. In that case, you'd be wise to have your written landowner permission and registration to avoid any penalties. Penalties could include a suspension of forest permits, or even the seizure of your freshly cut tree. Even worse, in a land dispute without landowner permission, you could face trespassing charges.

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