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Early start to tree-buying time
Maureen Osborne, left, and daughter Michaela, hung the banner announcing the opening of the Christmas tree sales lot at St. Margaret's Church in Riverton. Other sites have begun selling trees as well. Photos by Wayne Nicholls

O Christmas Tree (season)

Nov 25, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Volunteers helped residents make the transition from Thanksgiving to the Christmas season on Friday, when sales began at the annual St. Margaret's School tree lot.

The opening corresponds to the start of Christmas tree sales at other locations, as well as the availability of Christmas tree cutting permits in the national forests.

"We always open the Friday after Thanksgiving," Maureen Osborne said at the St. Margaret's lot. "It's tradition."

The Osborne family -- mom Maureen, dad Mike, 8-year-old daughter Michaela, and 7-year-old son Zachary -- has been helping with the Friday kickoff for the past several years. Maureen said they keep coming back because of the holiday cheer that seems to come with Christmas tree shopping.

"I think everyone has a positive attitude," Maureen said. "It's during the day, it's daylight, and we've lucked out and had really good weather."

Despite the sunny weather, the Osbornes were bundled up on Friday for their tree-selling adventure. Michaela and Zachary played on the St. Margaret's playground during lulls in activity, and when someone arrived at the lot the children rushed to greet them.

"(They're) visiting with everyone who comes by," Maureen said of her children. "They enjoy running around."

The kids will have a chance to pick out their own Christmas tree from the lot too, she said, and they will be sure to get a wreath from St. Margaret's as well.

"Last year we got a cross wreath," she said. "It stayed so nice that we were able to decorate it for Easter."

Over time, the family has grown familiar with the variety of trees available at the lot, and they have gotten to know some of the school's repeat customers.

"We have a lady that comes every year from Muddy Gap to pick out her Frasier fir," she said. "She wants first pick."

The Osborne kids usually spin the tree so the customer can examine its branches and make sure there are no bare patches.

"We always help her," Maureen said.

Some families come early looking for the tallest tree they can find -- Maureen said she already helped a man purchase a 9-foot Douglas fir on Friday. Others are in search of a tiny tree they can use to replicate "A Charlie Brown Christmas," and Maureen said those are available too.

"We have a good selection," she said.

The Christmas tree lot is equipped with lighting and heat lamps that are turned on every evening to keep customers warm, but Maureen encouraged people to visit during the day when the sun is out.

"There's lots of light to get the best tree," she said.

Trees and wreaths will be available for sale from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 4-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the lot near the intersection of East Fremont Avenue and North Seventh Street East.

Maureen said the goal is to sell as much as possible before school lets out for the holiday break.

"We already sold out of large wreaths," she said.

For more information call St. Margaret's at 856-5922.

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