LOS GATOS, Calif. (KGO) -- For many families in the South Bay, heading out to cut down a fresh Christmas tree in the Santa Cruz mountains is the priority before preparing Thanksgiving dinner.
"This could be the year that Lily picked out the tree, not Mommy and Daddy," said Chris Carney, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
This is the third time he and his wife Victoria have come to Patchen tree farm near Los Gatos to find and cut down the perfect one for their Saratoga home. They had their two children in tow. Lilyana is two and a half years old and Lincoln is five months old.
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"That one has a good shape to it," said Victoria Carney. "It's like nice and full. It's not too big and not too small."
Dad got busy, cutting down a Douglas fir after searching five minutes for the perfect tree.
Customers say they like this tree farm because after cutting down a tree, they're actually not killing it. That's because the stump is left in place and new sprouts come up and that will create a whole new generation of Christmas trees.
The Carneys chose a smaller, kid-sized tree this year for $85.
"In the past, we've gone a little bit taller but I think having them be able to reach up a little higher up and be able to decorate with the ornaments on will be fun this year," said Victoria.
A small disk that Patchen tree farm owner Jim Beck invented will be attached to the stump to keep the tree fresh longer after it's been cut.
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"It keeps trying to draw moisture from the roots," explained Beck.
"That draws air bubbles into what's called the xylem part of the tree, clogs the xylem, and now it can't drink water. This prevents that."
A crew of local students will wrap the tree in netting and help load and tie it onto a car or SUV to take home.
Customers even come out to take photos, to drink apple cider, and to shop for wreaths and other holiday décor.
South Bay families cut Christmas trees before carving turkey