When record high winds blew down a 30-foot-tall Austrian pine tree in front of the Foothill Station Post Office, 2255 Sunnyside Ave., last week postal employees made the best of the situation.

They dragged the huge tree inside the post office to the workroom, cut 8 feet off the trunk and made a beautiful Christmas tree out of it.Post office superintendent Janette Skidmore said it took about 20 employees to drag the heavy tree inside last Thursday and set it up. Most of the approximately 55 employees who work in the building brought decorations from their homes and put them on the tree.

"Things get pretty hectic this time of year, and there is a tendency to look at Christmas as just a headache, as far as work is concerned, because of all the extra mail, but the tree has really made everybody here feel good and boosted our Christmas spirit," Skidmore said.

This is the first time postal employees at the Foothill Station office have had a Christmas tree inside their working area, and Skidmore said all the employees like it. "We may not wait for a storm to give us a tree next year."

The only problems encountered in putting up the tree were trying to get its wide boughs through the door and the smoke that was produced by a power saw used to cut the trunk down to size.

"There was a lot of smoke and noise and we had to tell our postal patrons in the lobby that everything was fine," Skidmore said. "Smoke came rolling out of the work area into the lobby, and they must have thought for a moment the whole building was on fire. The smoke and noise lasted only a moment, though, and then everything went back to normal."