he Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City is one of the world’s most famous Christmas time attraction and has around an estimated 125 million visitors every year. This old tradition of setting up the Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller Center was started back in 1933. The tree is set up around mid-November and is lit up on a Wednesday after Thanksgiving every year by the current Mayor of New York City.
For this year’s celebration, they bought in a 75-year-old Norway Spruce that stands around 72-feet tall and weighs up to 24,000 pounds. It was hoisted a couple of days back and overlooks the Rockefeller skating rink in midtown Manhattan. The tree will be lit up along with 8 kilometers of LED multi-colored lighting decorations and a 900 pound Swarovski crystal star at the top. This year, the lighting ceremony will be broadcast live on TV on November 28, and the tree will be open for display until January 7, 2019.
The official tradition began in 1933, but it was actually started during The Great Depression back in 1931 during the construction of the Rockefeller Center. Workers involved in the construction pooled in some money and erected a 20-foot tall tree for Christmas, decorating it with tin cans, garlands of paper and strings of cranberries, all of which were made by the families of the workers. They celebrated it with an unlit tree, and ever since then it has been a gathering place and a reflection of what was happening around the world.
Two years later when it was officially set up, it was termed “a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike”. The official lighting featured a 50-foot tall tree. The skating rink was built in the plaza opposite the tree in 1936. The tree was set up even during World War II. It had simple patriotic decorations with painted wooden stars and red, blue and white unlit globes. There were three trees erected instead of one big tree in 1942, and each of them was decorated with the colors of the American flag.
The tree has never failed to bring people together especially over the last few decades. Even after the September 11 twin tower attacks, people gathered around the tree during Christmas and showed how it really is the beacon of hope and the place for reflection. During the lighting ceremony that year, Laura Bush told the crowd, “the magic had returned to the Big Apple and it’s time to turn on the lights.”
The trees used for the Christmas decorations are generally donated to Rockefeller Center and the lumber of the tree is later donated after the display. The trees were scouted by the Manager of Gardens at the Rockefeller Center, David Murbach, until his death in 2009. The trees are now scouted by Erik Pauze, who is the Head Gardener. He visits nurseries throughout the tri-state area looking for the perfect backyard tree. The trees are selected according to how healthy they are, if they have the right Christmas shape, and depending on whether the tree can support the heavy decorations.
The tree being used this year is a Norway Spruce that is 75-years-old. It was donated by Lissette Gutierrez and her wife, Shirley Figueroa, from their home. They nicknamed the tree “Shelby.” Their home is situated in Wallkill which is 96 kilometers away from New York City. The tree was named Shelby as the owners felt like the tree had a female spirit.
The head gardener of the Rockefeller Center had his eyes on “Shelby” for years, and this year the couple were finally convinced to donate the tree. He took care of the tree throughout summer before uprooting it. This year, after the tree is taken off the display and dismantled, it will be donated to the Habitat for Humanity to help build housing.
Today is the day! This year’s 72-foot Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has arrived from its home in Wallkill, New York, and @DavePriceTV is riding in with the beautiful Norway spruce.
Christmas is one of the best-celebrated festivals all across the world. The decorations range from using simple cotton as fake snow at home to using a 900 pound Swarovski crystal star at the top the tree at the Rockefeller Center. The decorations start coming in before Thanksgiving, and this shows how excited people are to celebrate the festival of joy. It surely is a great way to end the year, with so much color and bright lights, presents, and good old wine.
The mood the festival sets is absolutely wonderful and the bigger the celebrations, the happier the people that witness it. Let’s have a look at some of the best-decorated and most expensive Christmas trees from around the world.