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Picking the Perfect Tree: What You Need to Know

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By Kerry Longobucco.
Nothing says 'Christmas' quite like a real tree -- but Fox 40's Kerry Longobucco has never had one before. She went to Sunny Hill Tree Farm to find out how much work goes into choosing -- and cutting down -- a tree that would make even Santa swoon.

A fake tree may look flawless -- but for many families, cutting down their own tree is a christmas tradition they wouldn't trade for anything.

"They spend hours down there, but they enjoy every minute of it," Mike Kodey, owner of Sunny Hill Tree Farm, in Endwell, said. "I think they make a lot of good memories."

Like many others -- Kerry's family opted for a fake tree each year. Cleaning up needles probably isn't high on your Christmas wish list. But certain varieties let you to enjoy the real thing -- minus the mess.

"A lot of the trees now are Fraser firs," Kodey said. "And these Fraser firs will hold their needles up to six weeks."

Spruce trees, on the other hand, tend to start shedding their needles much sooner. Kodey says Fraser firs are by far the most popular variety on his farm.

Another important decision to consider, is how high of a tree to buy.

"A normal ceiling in a house is about seven and a half, to 8 feet tall," kody said. "So I try to sell most people a seven foot tree."

However, Sunny Hill carries trees that stand as high as fourteen feet tall.

Once you've picked the perfect tree, it's time to cut it down. Like Sunny Hill, most tree farms provide saws. Make sure to wear old clothes, or ones you don't mind getting dirty.

Make sure the area is clear of people and pets. Determine which direction the tree will fall -- ideally, it should fall downhill. Step away as the tree begins to fall.

Once you've made it home with your tree, shake it out to get rid of any loose needles. Remember to keep your tree hydrated -- the base should never dry out. Owners at Sunny Hill say there's no need to add anything to the water -- plain tap water will do the job.

The tree will last longest if it's left in a shady, cool area -- away from the heat.