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Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree ...

By JACINDA HOWARD, The Mirror

Before families can enjoy the rich scent of pine needles and a sparkling array of colorful lights dancing upon the branches, the quest for the perfect Christmas tree must take place.

Shoppers take into account several factors when looking for the ultimate specimen. Height, fullness and price were of highest concern to many shoppers Tuesday as they braved the numbing weather to find a tree at Federal Way Christmas tree lots.

Donna Martin and her husband, both of Des Moines, purchased their Christmas tree from Local Boys, located in The Commons at Federal Way mall parking lot. The Martins usually buy a tree that measures 6 to 7 feet tall, Donna Martin said. This year they browsed the lot before choosing a noble fir. Their decision was based on the fact that it had enough room and flexibility in its boughs to allow plenty of ornaments to be hung on several layers of branches, Martin said.

Mike Anderson and his daughter Sydnie Anderson, of Federal Way, also went to Local Boys to find their tree. The varieties flocked in bright blue and bubble-gum pink coloring caught the pair’s attention, but the white-flocked trees were more appealing, they said. Flocking makes the tree more expensive, but it creates less of a mess, Mike Anderson said.

“There’s never needles on the ground, it all just sticks together,” he said.

Local Boys

Like the Martins and Andersons, each year thousands of people visit Local Boys for their Christmas tree purchase. Robert Jones and his family operate Local Boys and have grown and harvested Christmas trees at their tree farm in Orting for 45 years, said Trevor Jones, 22, manager of the Federal Way Local Boys.

The business has sold trees in Federal Way for 32 years, Jones said.

“We are not a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ kind of business,” he said.

At any given time, the lot offers approximately 350 pre-cut noble, Fraser, Douglas and grand fir trees ranging in height from 3 feet to 14 feet, Jones said.

The price of a Christmas tree starts at $18.95 and varies depending on height and variety. But Jones insists his product is well worth its price. Quality is the key to Local Boys’ success, Jones said. The lot receives tree shipments at least once a week and sells between 3,500 and 5,000 Christmas trees per season at its Federal Way location, he said.

“We don’t mess around,” Jones said.

Federal Way

National Little League

A few miles southwest of Local Boys, the Federal Way National Little League sells Christmas trees from its ball fields at 450 S.W. Campus Drive.

The dirt parking area, somewhat secluded location and the sound of wood crackling on an outside fire lend the lot an ambiance that slightly resembles a “u-cut” tree farm.

Pre-cut noble, grand and Douglas firs are lined up in rows. The trees range in size from 3 feet to 12 feet. They are transported to Federal Way from Chehalis, said lot attendant Aaron Herrera, 20. All the evergreens offered here have been cut within a two-week period, he said.

Per season, the Federal Way National Little League sells between 400 and 500 Christmas trees starting at $7 per foot, Herrera said. The proceeds from the sales go toward Little League operations.

“The main reason people come here is we do benefit the Little League,” Herrera said.

Northeast Tacoma resident Jim Gullickson usually makes a trip to Chehalis to find his perfect Christmas tree. This year’s early December flooding prevented Gullickson from making that voyage. Instead, he chose to buy his tree from the Federal Way National Little League. The lot offers quality trees and convenience, Gullickson said.

“I didn’t want to run around all over (looking for a tree),” he said.

Gullickson bought a noble fir measuring 5-and-a-half feet tall. The decision was based mostly on the tree’s appearance, which Gullickson called “pretty.”

Contact Jacinda Howard: jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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