GOSHEN — On a recent Wednesday, Kurt and Heather O’Connell, of Brandon, led their three young boys into the wilderness at the foot of Mt. Horrid on the search for a perfect Christmas tree — a family tradition that’s now in its third year.

Armed with just an ax, saw, a $5 tree permit from the U.S. Forest Service and a thermos of hot cocoa, the O’Connells set off on an hour-long, half-mile trek over knee-deep snow, which they occasionally fell through. As the daylight waned, they found their tree just in time and harvested it, ending their night with hot cocoa and singing “Silent Night” together as a family.

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