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Here's where you can go in Arizona to cut down your own Christmas tree

Looking to spruce up your Christmas festivities this year? Here's how you can cut down your own tree in Arizona.

PHOENIX — Christmas is creeping closer and closer as many begin to plan out their holiday festivities. From house decorating to planning family gatherings, the to-do list can be rather large this holiday season.

But along with gift shopping and Santa searching, some families may decide to cut down their own Christmas tree from the forest this year. But where do you begin?

Well, luckily for you, here's a breakdown of everything you need to know to cut down your own Christmas tree.

First, you need a permit

So you've decided to skip the fake trees and Christmas tree lots and cut down a tree of your own. Before you head out to the forest, you need to make sure you get a permit first.

Christmas tree permits for the Coconino and Tonto national forests go on sale Nov. 9 for $15. The permits allow you to cut down a Christmas Tree within the designated areas of the respective forests.

Next up, looking for the perfect tree

With a permit in hand, the only thing left to do is find the right tree. To help you do that, the website Recreation.gov offered these useful tips:

  • People can purchase permits online starting Nov. 9 but cutting isn't allowed until Nov. 16 through Dec. 31.
  • If you get a permit, it's also important to remember not to cut down a tree on private land, wilderness areas, designated campgrounds or existing tree plantations.
  • Also, avoid cutting in active timber sales or areas that have been planted with new trees.
  • A limited number of each permit will become available as the season progresses, so check back often if you can't get one right away.

Which tree should we pick?

If you still need help determining the best Christmas tree for your home, here's some additional information from Recreation.gov to help with your selection:

  • Each forest has limitations on the tree size and species type you can cut. Make sure you check your permit's guidelines. 
  • The tallest tree you may cut from ground level is 10 feet.
  • If you are going to cut a tree, take the entire tree. Don't remove the top of the tree; cut down the entire tree.
  • If you find snow on the ground, remove it from around the tree stump so you can accurately measure the stump and tree height.

For additional suggestions and tips, head over to the Recreation website.

UPDATE: It appears the permits for the Coconino National Forest are already sold out.

And be sure to share your Christmas tree photos with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #BeOn12!

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