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  •   Decorations: Dot Com, All Ye Faithful

    By Peter A. McKay
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, November 22, 1998; Page H5

    My aunts may be New Yorkers, but their tree is growing in Pennsylvania.

    Even the natural Christmas tree – the most central symbol of the holiday – has gone digital. Several tree farms have set up Internet sites, and I ordered a fir from one for some city-slicker relatives.

    This method of tree-buying makes more sense than one might expect.

    My two aunts are in their seventies and live in a twelfth-floor Manhattan apartment. Because they don't drive, their Christmas tree selection would be limited to a vendor who sets up shop outside their building every year.

    But this time they'll get their tree online from Pine Ridge Partners (www.xmastreesonline.com), a farm just outside Gettysburg, Pa. On the site, I bought a fir (between five and six feet tall, according to a chart) that will be bundled and shipped in a box.

    The site lets customers choose shipping dates up to Dec. 14. My aunts, however, wanted one after that, so I called the farm to arrange the later date at no additional cost.

    At $47.95, including shipping, the price was not much more than my aunts would have paid on the sidewalk. I saved them a few minutes of shopping in the cold; and as New Yorkers would say, they won't have to schlep the tree upstairs.

    As for other decorations, the Internet offers just as many as in real life, where every store at this time of year seems to be hawking ornaments, nativity scenes and lights. The broadest selection I found was from Holiday Trim and Tree Co. (www. christmasdepot.com). There are also sites specifically for lights, stockings and other holiday items.

    Looking for Hanukah decorations, I found the Image Plus Jewish Bazaar (www. jewishbazaar.com/bazaar), an online store run by North Potomac residents Sonny and Zeev Golan. The site includes a variety of Jewish cultural merchandise, although products related to the upcoming winter festival have been given special prominence lately.

    Sadly, I couldn't find any prominent online store featuring Kwanzaa decorations, although there were many informational sites for the holiday.

    I didn't have much more need for browsing, as I don't need many decorations for my apartment this Christmas. My family is going to my aunts' place.

    I can't wait to see the tree.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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