Six-year-old Ellie Beier has high expectations for her Christmas tree this year.

“I want a small tree that I can climb on and I can sleep under it,” Ellie said as her dad loaded a voluptuous evergreen into the back of the family’s pickup truck. “Because that’s what our cats do.”

Saturday was the opening day of the All Saints Christmas Tree sale at the parking lot of the Salvation Army along 21st Street in Lewiston. Travis Wisman, a volunteer who helps sell the trees, said there are about 700 trees available this year, down from about 1,000 last year.

“Just a shortage in trees in general,” Wisman said of the decline in stock.

The ones on the lot, shipped from Shelton, Wash., and Joseph, Ore., are lush and full and offer a large variety, both in species and size, for people to choose from. Wisman said the trees usually sell for between $30 and $160, depending on the size.

Customers “usually like the scented ones — the grand firs,” he said. “The nobles (firs) are probably the second most popular. They last a little bit longer and they’re just a fuller tree.”

Wisman and two other volunteers help trim the trees and saw off a small section from the base of the trunk to fit the customers’ needs. The sale lasts until the trees are gone, usually around mid-December.

Ellie’s mother, Amanda, said she likes trees to be “full with no holes. But I like to have space so the ornaments can hang without touching the other branches, if possible.”

The family always buys a live tree rather than an artificial one because, “Well, we grew up with it,” Amanda Beier said. “It’s nice to have that smell and just the tradition of it.”

Brandon Beier said when he was younger he would go with his parents into the forest to select a tree, but those days are over.

“I guess that it’s being so cold that I don’t want to go digging through the forest to find something,” Brandon Beier said.

Gracie Beaudoin, 6, also was shopping for a Christmas tree with her family. She was hoping to get a small one “because they’re cute.”

Getting a Christmas tree is the first of many holiday traditions the Beaudoin family enjoys this time of year.

Once they get the tree home, Gracie’s father, Brent Beaudoin said, the kids usually take a nap. “And then when they wake up, it’s all up and then they help put all the ornaments on it.”

The breakable ornaments go up high, out of the children’s reach, while the other ones are placed down low.

“So it’s kind of lop-sided, but it allows them to play and pull them off and put them back on as much as they want,” Brent Beaudoin said.

Gracie gets to place the star on the top of the tree. And then on Christmas Eve, “We get to go to our nana and bo’s (grandparents) house and we get to open up presents and we get to sing songs,” Gracie said.

“And I help read the big Bible story.”

Hedberg may be contacted at kathyhedberg@gmail.com or (208) 983-2326.

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