It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around UCF's campus, but nothing brings out the holiday spirit better than a good 'ole Christmas tree.

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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around UCF's campus, but nothing brings out the holiday spirit better than a good 'ole Christmas tree.

Now, students can prepare for the rapidly-approaching holiday by purchasing Christmas trees from local stores such as Wal-Martand Target. There are also a couple of open lots close to campus being transformed into Christmas-tree vendors.

"I'll be back and forth from here [UCF] to my home, so I was thinking about putting a small tree in my apartment," Madison Brochin, a sophomore majoring in anthropology, said. "Real or fake, it's whatever I get."

Wal-Mart Supercenter, at the corner of Colonial Drive and Rouse Road, along with Target, located in the Waterford Lakes Town Center, both have mixtures of 3- to 8-foot artificial Christmas trees ranging from $15 to $60. Some are multicolored and some come already pre-lit with lights, but there are ones that are plain so that they can be decorated by the buyer.

Home-improvement stores are taking part in the holiday hysteria as well. TheHome Depot, across the street from the the Waterford Lakes Town Center, and Lowe's, off Alafaya Trail and Lake Underhill Road, are selling both real and artificial pre-lit trees, with the various heights of 3 feet all the way up to 12 feet. Prices range from $20 to $500.

If students don't mind a little bit of a drive, then Old Time Pottery off John Young Parkway has 4-to7-foot Christmas trees starting from $20 to $90. These trees are all artificial, and, like Wal-Mart and Target, feature multicolored and pre-lit options.

But if students want to avoid retail stores at all costs, two Christmas tree vendors are in the process of being built within close proximity to UCF. Razzani's Fresh Cut Christmas Trees sell only real Christmas trees, and one location is right outside UCF's entrance at the corner of University Boulevard and Alafaya Trail. The other is farther down on Alafaya Trail, close to the Waterford Lakes Town Center area. Call (407) 478-8777 for more information or visit its website at www.orlandochristmastree.com. Smaller trees cost about $20 and 4-to-5-foot trees cost about $30.

A portion of the profits from these sales goes to local churches, such as St. Stephen Catholic Community, San Pedro Retreat Center and St. Issac Jogues Catholic Church.

"My family and I used to get real Christmas trees," Evan Tobin, a junior majoring in English literature, said. "I'll go back home to get one, though. If I'd stay here [at UCF], I'd get a little Charlie Brown tree."

With an early start to the winter break this semester, some students plan on returning to their families for the holidays and not worrying about purchasing trees for their living spaces.

But they still plan on enjoying the festivities of decorating a tree when they arrive home .

"I don't live too far away from home, but I'll put my tree up when I get there for sure," Jessica Bravo, a junior majoring in creative writing, said.

Wal-Mart and Target are the only two retailers to increase their prices on their trees as the holiday season continues, employees confirmed. The Home Depot, Lowe's, and Razzani's are keeping their prices the same throughout the month.

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