It’s that time of the year again! New York City is preparing for the 82nd annual traditional ceremony to unveil the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Every year, a massive tree is delivered to the plaza, decorated with lights and ornaments and enjoyed by visitors throughout the holiday season. The ceremony is highly anticipated because it kicks off the start of Christmas festivities in the Big Apple.
The tradition dates back to 1933 when Rockefeller Plaza opened and a tree was first decorated. Since then, the Rockfeller Center Christmas tree has become a symbol of holiday spirit in New York City. Because of this, the square has become an exceptionally popular location, with millions crowding the streets every December to marvel at this sight.
“My family and I have gone the past few years, and we’re going again this year to make it a tradition,” senior Madison Coliano said.
While the tree is widely popular, many people do not know all the fascinating facts and history behind it. Each year, a tree is selected from a different location and driven into the city. A Norway Spruce from Bloomsburg, PA will be this year’s focal point at Rockefeller Center.
The tree was delivered on Nov. 7, and workers immediately started setting it up. The first lighting of the tree will take place on Dec. 3 during a ceremony that includes live, festive performances.
Junior Jared Baldwin was in New York City the weekend after the tree arrived in Rockefeller Center. He noted that the tree was in the works.
“They had scaffolding around the tree, and workers were trimming it up,” Baldwin said.
He mentioned that there were piles of branches that had been taken off of the tree in order to shape it perfectly.
When asked how this year’s tree compared to last year’s, Baldwin said, “It seemed to be a little bit smaller than the usual Rockefeller tree.”
According to THETREENYC, an organization that reports information every year about the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, this year’s tree is approximately 85 feet tall. The organization also wrote that the trees are usually between 65 and 110 feet, meaning that, as Baldwin mentioned, the tree is not as large as it has been in previous years.
Coliano also gave her opinion about the size of the tree. When asked if the tree changes significantly from year to year, she answered, “No, it doesn’t — not that I have noticed.”
There are still numerous steps of the process left before the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will be lit and made merry. The next task is to top the tree with the 550-pound, nine-and-a-half-foot-tall Swarovksi crystal star. After this, 45,000 LED lights will be draped on the tree to illuminate the plaza.
To New Yorkers and tourists alike, the tree is a big deal. It signifies the time when the whole nation begins to celebrate their own traditions and customs with family and friends. It is holiday joy at its finest.
When Coliano was asked what kind of feeling she gets when seeing the tree, she could only respond with one word: “Happiness.” She said that television does not do it justice; there is just something about the sensation when seeing the tree in person.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will stay lit until Jan. 7, offering a little over a month of good tidings.