11/27/05 — Families begin holidays seeking just the right tree

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Families begin holidays seeking just the right tree

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 27, 2005 2:08 AM

Three-year-old Logan Charlton stood amid the forest of Christmas trees and tried to decide which one was his.

Logan and his family were at Teri-Jim's Christmas tree farm in Dudley on Friday, taking care of that most important of all holiday chores -- choosing just the right tree.

Nothing smells like Christmas like the scent of a freshly cut evergreen.

Logan's mother, Christy, said she prefers to buy a tree cut from a farm after you have picked it out. That way you know how long it has been cut, she said.

His father, Scott, said this is the second year that the family has traveled to the farm on Ruskin Road to buy a tree.

Jimmy Hinson has been growing and selling trees for years. He said this year the Teri-Jim farm has more than 800 trees ready for people to choose from, from a two-footer for the bedroom to a 10-foot ceiling scraper. Prices range from $20 to $120.

The farm is just one of several pick-and-cut Christmas tree operations in Wayne County.

After some time comparing trees, Logan, who will soon turns 4, finally made his choice.

"I like that one," he said, gazing wide-eyed at a seven-footer, deep green and full.

Within minutes, the tree was wrapped and ready for the Charltons to take home.

Some Wayne residents in search of the perfect tree were at Lowe's on Berkeley Boulevard -- one of the many locations around the county offering trees this year.

John Hoke and his family were busy looking through the trees at the store. Only the right tree would do, he said.

"We always come out the day after Thanksgiving to pick out the perfect tree. We bring it home and let it sit for a few days and we'll decorate it on Sunday," Hoke said.

Hoke's 12-year-old son, Daniel, walked up and down the aisles of trees, eyeing each candidate critically, looking for the quality that would set his family's tree apart from the rest.

"I want that one," he said finally, pointing to a dark green giant. "It's real big at the top but there's a lot of room at the bottom to fit a lot of presents."

The Hokes have a tree-decorating tradition. Each member of the family has a special job to do. Daniel said his task is the most important.

"I get to plug the lights in when we're finished putting everything on it," he said.

After a few minutes of discussion and comparison, the Hokes decided on Daniel's tree. Together, they loaded it into the family's pick-up truck and tied it down with cords and rope.

Hoke smiled as he brought his hands up to his nose and took a deep breath.

"I'll be smelling this tree for the next six weeks," he said. "Now that's Christmas."