It’s not to say that we don’t appreciate the beauty of trees in every season, but there’s something so dramatic about the bare limbs of a tree against the grey winter sky.

But some trees are little more shy about “baring all”.

Because evergreens are, well, ever green, you very rarely get to see the beautiful underlying architecture of these branches

Each Christmas, after all the gifts have been unwrapped, and after all the ornaments have been carefully packed for their year-long hibernation, we’ve had a tradition of offering up the Christmas tree to the goats.  They attack the branched buffet with gusto, and within an hour there’s nothing left but the spindly, splendid skeletal remains.


This inspired an idea for our “naked” Christmas tree. (Along with our annual viewing of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special)

(If you don’t have a herd of goats to help you remove the needles, here’s a tip.  Using  a pair of rubber kitchen gloves, pull each branch straight  and brush from the tip of the branch toward the trunk of the tree.  The gloves help catch the needles and also keep the sticky pine tar from your fingers)

We’ve always been intrigued by the idea that when the Beekmans inhabitated the house, they likely had real candles aglow on the tree.


Here’s our modern (and safer) version, using glass orbs left over from the finale of America’s Oldest, Largest Garden Party and some battery-powered tea lights.

With all the lights turned off in the grand hallway,  holiday visitors were greeted by a swarm of hovering lights.  Marfa simply cannot compete!


How did you see Christmas different this year?  Let us know in the comment section below.

by Josh and Brent

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Jennifer Berglund

Such a neat idea! I share my home with many rescue dogs over tje holidays so a tree is no longer an option. Not to feel bah umbugy I decided to do a “modern tree”… I took all of my orrniments and hung them down from the railing on my loft by fishing line. Now you still feel the season & no harm to the doggies


Less is best. I love walking our land in Deposit, NY for inspiration and natural materials when decorating for the holidays! We see Christmas this year for spending more family time together and not stressing about the amount we spend but the thoughtfulness of what we give as presents


Addendum to my email posted 10/10 @ 11:39:

Yikes! You can dress me up but can't take me out…I failed to thank John…

John, your hard work and willingness to share your love and knowledge of farming is making such a positive impact.

Please know that many (millions?) appreciate all that you, Josh and Brent do.

Take care,



Hi Josh and Brent:

Hope this finds you well and happy.

Questions about your gorgeous naked tree:

– Where did you get the glass orbs?

– What size are they?

– Any chance that you remember how many were used?

– Approximately how large was the tree?

Thanks…your hard work and sacrifice of living apart is making a positive impact on many lives. Here's hoping you will be living together full time VERY soon!

Love your soap – I've purchased the Goat Milk soap and Honey Bar – and just received the Beekman 1802 t-shirt.

Take care,



Phyllis, thanks for sharing your Christmas tree story. Reminds me of the time my little brother decided we should go into the woods behind our home & cut one v/s buying one from a tree farm. At about 14yo, I set out with my 2 younger siblings. Lol, the "just behind the house" trip ended up being a mile away from home in a pouring snow. My 3yo sister rolled down the hill & cried until we got almost home. My brother was too cold to swing the axe hard enough, so I had to help – which was hilarious looking as my spine is surgically fused & I could barely keep my balance.

After all that, we looked like some kind of redneck refugees dragging that 8 footer home. Mom had to cut off quite a bit of it. She also loved a rather full tree & this one was sadly sparse. Rofl, she filled in the bare areas with branches from an artificial tree & we ended up with one of the prettiest Christmas trees ever. Of course, I'd have thought so even if it were hideous after all we went through to get it. Needless to say, tree farms were permanently part of Christmas after that.

Sarah Vernon

This past Christmas I thought I would be depressed. There was no money for gifts and very little for dinner. We celebrated with Kentucky Fried Chicken at my parents. They served cocktails and we used china to eat on.

Now don't go feeling sorry for us. We each made a list of the gifts we would have given and put them in a card for each other. (FYI our family lovingly gave us gifts and money)

It is a Christmas I won't forget and I learned a valuable lesson. Gifts are soon opened and disgarded. Love and hope were given this year.

Bless you and yours.

Robin Jurczak

We want our Chicago Christmas to be as joyous as yours. Hugs to your friends and family!


Phyllis, I can identify with your story – they ALWAYS look smaller when you pick them out……….hmmm, do we trim the top a little or cut the trunk off…….I'll bet it's always been one of your favorite trees though!


Merry Christmas Josh and Brent! Your tree is SO pretty!

In 1958 my brother George and I had ten dollars to buy a Christmas tree. We asked my mother if we could pick the tree out, as we were paying for i t. You know how a tree looks smaller outdoors??? We picked out the prettiest tree you ever saw, but the man from the tree lot had to deliver it on the back of a flat bed truck! It would not fit anywhere on our car.

My mother, when she saw it, went into the kitchen and closed the door! She said to call her when we got it decorated, and she would make coffee in the meanwhile.

I think this tree was fit for a church hall! All of our decorations went on the front of the tree only. We had to pop corn, string ANYTHING we could find, put Christmas cards on paper clips, and get more lights.I guess it was 15 feet tall after we cut the top off. Turned out so pretty that we left it up until March. Then we spent the next nine months vacuuming needles out of the living room! The whole house smelled so good for months and months. The next Christmas, my brother and I did not get to pick out a tree! Bye bye!


What a great video! Haha! I loved the juxtaposition of the frenzied goats with the bored-looking cats. And the 'naked tree' is gorgeous. Have a holly-jolly Christmas, goats, llamas, cats, humans and ghosts!


Nicole Price

We drove right past Sharon Springs on our way to my parents house in Dolgeville… I thought of you guys and hope you are enjoying your holiday!

Linda Turner

Just watched the Beekman Christmas video…

So next year will you have special limited edition goat's milk cheeses like "Piney Woods", "Doug's Fir", and a combo pack of cheese and pate', "Spruce and Goose" ? Sorry, we're baking Christmas cookies, rum cake and havin' a little toast…….

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Linda and Gerry

Farmer John's Jason

Loved the video, guys. It was charming, funny and and a joy watching the animals reap the rewards of the holiday. Also, the decorated bare tree was disarmingly beautiful. Terrific.
Happy Holidays everyone!


Dear Josh and Brent,
From our home to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and exciting New Year.

In years past, it was easy to get caught up in the wrapping, the ribbons, the tags, and the scotch tape. This year, more than ever, it’s about the love of family, the closeness of friends, and sharing the spirit with those who have fallen on hard times. It’s about realizing the blessings in our lives and sharing that bounty of blessings with others.

A very wise friend of mine said to me just yesterday, “Anytime there is true intention to make life a bit easier and happier for another, good things happen.” How very true. The ‘good thing’ is not something that can be wrapped in a package and embellished with a bow.. rather, it’s a feeling in ones heart that the true spirit of the season has come alive.

Your naked tree symbolizes something very important when you think about it.. beauty truly comes from what’s inside; be it a tree, a seed pod, or in many cases, a person. Underneath the embellishment of someones ‘status’ in the world we’re all just bare branches. And when you think about it.. it’s the structure of a plant and the structure (soul) of a person that is most important. Everything else is fluff. Acceptance, love, friendship and healthy relationships only happen when you allow yourself to be a naked tree.

Thank you for your part in making 2009 a memorable year. We have such fond and lasting memories our visits, walks, goat nibbles, and sunflowers. We look forward to more memory making in the coming year as we return to a place that welcomed us with open arms.. a place we call our second home.. Sharon Springs.