The Rockefeller Christmas Tree is traditionally a Norway Spruce that is donated for display at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, New York. The tree is cut and delivered in mid-November and the lighting ceremony occurs the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. Interestingly enough, the tree cannot be more than 100 ft. tall because of the narrow streets around Rockefeller Center.
Every year, the Head Gardener of Rockefeller Center, scouts the tri-state area, nurseries, and backyards for a tree that is shaped like a Christmas tree and is able to bear the weight of the heavy ornaments. The tree is decorated with giant red bows as it travels and is delivered by Christmas Tree Brooklyn, a local company. Once the tree is fully decorated, it must support “50,000 multi-colored LED lights” and a 550-pound Swarovski crystal star on top. The tree is held erect by four guy-wires and a steel spike.
The first Christmas tree which was unlit and a mere 20 feet was erected by construction workers in 1931, and decorated with ‘strings of cranberries, garlands of paper, and even a few tin cans.’ The first official tree was erected in 1933, and was touted by the Rockefeller Center as ‘a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike’. In 1936 a skating rink was built in the plaza below the tree. During World War II, simple decorations of red, white, and blue were used until the end of the War in 1945. From 1944 until the end of World War II, the tree went unlit due to blackout regulations.
The Rockefeller Christmas Tree official site claims that the Christmas tree is a ‘world-wide symbol of Christmas’. This may very well be true since 125 million people visit the Rockefeller Center to view the tree each year. It remains one of New York City’s “biggest attractions”.
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