MILWAUKEE — A solid month before most of us started sizing up the perfect Christmas tree, Chris Kling already had the holidays on his mind.
Kling is an urban forester for the Milwaukee Department of Public Works.
In mid-October, it's his job to hit the streets and take stock of the year's candidates for the official City Hall tree.
"I say just like any homeowner looking for the perfect tree in their home -- uniformity, color and appropriate size," Kling said.
He's looking for something a little bigger than your average tree lot -- 35 feet tall and 20 feet across.
It also needs to be easy to cut down and remove in one piece.
The first candidate was in the front yard of a home in Bay View.
Kling's process begins simply enough.
"I look at it from far, first and foremost, because that's how people view it," Kling said. "From a distance, is it spectacular. And I go from there."
Then he moves on to measuring and looking inside the tree.
The second candidate tree stands in a yard on Bennett Avenue in the Fairview neighborhood.
Kling initially likes what he sees.
"I do like the uniformity, first and foremost. Nice color to it, good width," he said.
It's a good candidate to be the official Milwaukee tree, but there's one more to see.
The final tree is on South 88th Street, and it is a real looker.
"Boy," Kling said, taking the tree in from across the street. "Great shape. Good height. Great color."
After measuring it up and getting a close look inside, Kling has a pretty good idea which of these three trees is destined for City Hall.
To see which tree wins, watch the video above.