By Melissa Wynn

[media-credit name=”” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]Cutting the family Christmas tree is a mountain valley tradition that has stood the test of time for generations. Here is our family recipe for making a smooth and festive adventure of this age old holiday task.

You will need

1 Christmas Tree cutting permit from your local Forest Service office for each tree you plan to cut.

1 map of your cutting area to ensure a safe return home.

1 hand or chain saw for cutting.

1 sled, cart or large tarp for dragging the tree back to the truck without damaging the branches.

1  thermos of homemade hot cocoa for each adventure member. (recipe included in this issue)

1 picnic lunch and several hearty snacks in case the day gets away from you while  searching for the perfect pine.

1 first aid kit in case of emergency.

1 complete warm outfit including waterproof gloves (in case of snow), warm hat, heavy coat and snow boots for each tree seeker.

As many friends and family members as you can gather to help build this years priceless memory.

1 4 wheel drive truck to battle any snowy road between you and the perfect Christmas conifer.

1 CD of Christmas music by your favorite artist.

Once you have decided which neck of the woods to explore, take the first nine ingredients and load them with care into the 4 wheel drive. Turn the CD up to encourage the traditional sing along that will last until you reach your destination, ( louder if those in the vehicle lack skills in harmony.)

Now its time to find the tree that best fits you and your home. Be careful not to cut a tree that is to tall for your ceiling. Carefully cut your tree down, load it on your sled or tarp and drag it back to the truck. Take your time, enjoy your lunch and cocoa and soak in the wonders of wandering the forest.

Take tree home and decorate to taste.