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The hunt for the perfect tree begins in Uptown Park

By Mackenzie Rossero, For The Miami Student

More than anything else, the Christmas tree is symbolic of the holiday season. Many shy away from artificial trees, arguing there is nothing better than seeing a real Christmas tree light up your living room. The customers at the Oxford Lion's Club Christmas tree sale in the Uptown Memorial Park would agree.

Every year, the Oxford Lion's Club sells a variety of Christmas trees to students and Oxford residents. This year, the 56th annual sale, there were 243 trees to choose from, with prices ranging from $20 to $75. All profits from the sale go back to the Oxford community, Lane Library and community service scholarships, among other things.

With lively Christmas music as background noise, juniors Marquette Gasser and Julia Olmsted came shopping for their tree. Olmsted had never had a "real" Christmas tree before and was excited to choose one.

"I want a big one," she said. "We have a big house so it would look kinda weird otherwise."

Gasser, one of her housemates, disagreed.

"I wanted a tiny one because they're so cute," said Gasser.

Compromising, the girls ended up with a medium-sized tree that fit another one of their requirements - inexpensive.

"We were looking for the cheapest tree we could find," explained Olmsted with a laugh.

Among their decorations for the tree, the girls list things from Walmart, found objects and hand-me-down ornaments from their parents.

But, there are extra responsibilities if you go with a real Christmas tree - they have to be watered and can be a potential fire hazard. The real trees also shed pine needles, but Gasser and Olmsted have that one covered.

"That's my job," said Gasser. "I clean the living room."

After the girls made their decision, Dale Rolfes and Tim Hutzel, both members of the Oxford Lion's Club, took the tree off its spike and carried it to the baler. The baler condenses the tree in a net more suitable for transporting.

Balancing the tree on their shoulders, Gasser and Olmsted began the trek to their off-campus home, where they planned to set up their "tree burrito" in preparation for the holidays.

The tree types offered at the sale this year include Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir and Fraser Fir. Oxford Lion's Club member Dale Rolfes describes the Scotch as having a silvery tone and a wonderful smell - though it is the most expensive of the three.

Each year, at the end of the sale, the remaining trees are donated to the Family Resource Center. The Lion's Club also provides the 12-foot tree displayed in President David Hodge's house.

The Oxford Lion's Club will be selling Christmas trees Uptown until just before Christmas Day, or until all of the trees are sold. The sale is open from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 12 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.