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Real trees scarce this holiday
There are fewer places to buy the real version of traditional Christmas trees nowadays in Brunswick and the Golden Isles.

Tree lots that usually pop up on major thoroughfares following Thanksgiving have been gradually disappearing over the years with the growing popularity of real-looking plastic replicas.

But for those who still sell the seasonal variety, nothing is better than the real thing.

With Christmas Day now just 11 days away, the picking is slim. For many families, the yuletide season would not be complete without a dark green tree prominently displayed in holiday cheer.

The Brunswick Kiwanis Club has been selling fir trees in Brunswick for decades, but this year only a few dozen remain. The club started with nearly 500 trees and has sold most of them.

Residents know where to go to find real trees.

"We've been selling trees at least since 1960," said Carlton Morrison, a member since 1972.

The trees, ranging anywhere from table top size to 10 feet tall, are for sale at Howard Coffin Park on Gloucester Street daily.

"It's for a good cause," Morrison said, noting that profits from tree sales go to local organizations like Manna House, the Boys and Girls Club and Court Appointed Special Advocates.

The St. Simons Optimist Club has already sold out of trees at its location near the Island Car Wash by the McKinnon St. Simons Airport, said member JoAnn Davis.

"We had some nice publicity and have sold out," Davis said.

Club members cut the trees fresh, and many families have made purchasing a tree from the Optimist Club a family tradition.

The St. Simons Optimist Club has been selling trees since 1971 and gives the profits to local youth charities.

The hope is that real trees will remain a tradition, even as companies improve the texture and appearance of their artificial counterparts.

Switching to a factory made copy is a matter of convenience for some. St. Simons Island resident Laura Kipp says her family sometimes buys trees from the Kiwanis Club or from the St. Simons Optimists Club but recently has transitioned to a fake fir.

"For the past several years, we have succumbed to artificial trees, unfortunately," Kipp said. "We are so busy with our jobs and family that if we are not going to be home for the holidays, it is just not worth the effort."

But one tradition will always endure for Kipp and her family, and that's going through the family's ornaments and decorating the tree, real or artificial.

"Our ornament collection has grown quite a bit over the years," Kipp said. "I have always loved opening the boxes containing them and reminiscing about the significance of each one as I decorate the tree," Kipp said.

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