LIVONIA, Mich. (FOX 2) - The holidays are full of so many family traditions. For those who celebrate Christmas, the Christmas tree is a top priority.
Do you ever wonder where all those trees come from? Some are from a farm in Cheboygan - and the Stempky family's own tradition has been to bring their trees to a lot in Livonia for nearly 50 years.
For Fred Stempky, Christmas comes every day - and has his entire life.
"I cut them all myself," he said. "It's a family thing."
His father, Stanley, started a Christmas tree farm in Cheboygan, Mich. back in 1951. Stanley passed away 37 years ago and so now Fred, his wife and their four daughters have taken over the business.
And for almost 50 years now, generations of the Stempky family have made the journey from the nursery up north to Livonia, to sell freshly cut Christmas trees to metro Detroit.
Balsams are Fred's favorite. His dad helped domesticate it, and it's their most popular tree.
"The balsams go all the way from pole to pole," Fred said. But those balsams aren't the only type of Christmas tree - Fred tells us they bring down 800 trees a year.
Eight hundred and a whole variety of firs, pines and spruce trees to fit each height, width, price range - and tradition.
"The Fraser fir - it's a fail-safe tree. Holds its needles good, decorates easy," he said. "And they're beautiful. But then you go into the white pine: very dense, very soft branch but very pet friendly - very kid friendly. Then scotch pine - this is Michigan's Christmas tree 25 years ago - 90 percent of the trees sold were scotch pine."
Tradition runs deep there, not just for the Stempky family, but for so many other families as well. Some have been coming here their entire lives, and we also met some new customers getting their first real tree in their new home. For their first year and, Fred hopes, for many years to come.
If you are interested in a tree from Fred's family farm, they have locations in Livonia and Cheboygan.
Livonia: 35175 Plymouth Rd, Livonia, MI 48150
Cheboygan: 5157 N Straits Hwy. Cheboygan, MI 49721
Hours of the Livonia Tree Lot:
M-F 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Weekends 8 a.-m. - 10 p.m.