Rushing the Christmas season? St. Paul doesn’t think so

You can never start too early in planning for Christmas; just ask the department stores. And now the city of St. Paul is getting an early start, too.

City officials already have put out the call for three giant pine trees that can be cut down and transported to downtown parks, where they’ll be decorated for the holidays.

The city has been asking the public for help for many years; if chosen, you probably qualify for a tax deduction for the donation. Usually, these are oversize trees that people need to cut down anyway. And the city will even grind down the stump. A win-win.

Back in the days when I was St. Paul columnist for the Strib, I’d always mention the tree search and sometimes city officials would tell me that my mention was responsible for finding that year’s trees. But maybe they said that to all the columnists.

Here are the details from the official announcement:

“Saint Paul is getting a head start on its search for the large evergreen holiday trees for downtown Saint Paul. Beginning today, citizens interested in donating a 75-‘to 95-foot evergreen tree for the 2008-2009 Winter Holiday Season can contact Saint Paul’s Forestry Department at 651-632-5129. To help conserve staff time, people are also encouraged to email their submission with a digital image of their tree and address to chris.boche@stpaul.gov.

“Each winter, the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Forestry Department places and decorates three large evergreen trees in Ecolab Plaza, Hamm Plaza and Rice Park in downtown Saint Paul.

“The Forestry Department looks for evergreen trees at least 75 feet tall that have overgrown their location or otherwise need to be removed. If a citizen’s tree is chosen, the Forestry Department will remove the tree, and grind down the stump at no charge. The donation may also be eligible for a sizeable tax deduction. Last year’s trees were appraised from $3,000 to $6,000.

“For specific questions about the holiday tree requirements, contact the Forestry Department at: (651) 632-5129 or via email: chris.boche@stpaul.gov. For general information about Saint Paul Parks & Recreation, visit www.stpaul.gov/parks.”

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