The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree – A Tradition

Is there anything quite as grand as an evergreen dressed for the holidays?

Today we’re unwrapping a few fun facts to toast the grandest, most famous tannenbaum of all, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

A Humble Beginning

Hoping to bring a little joy to their depression-plagued city in 1931, construction workers at New York City’s Rockefeller Center chipped in to buy the Center’s first Christmas Tree: a 20-foot fir, adorned with their families’ handmade decorations and placed outside the Center’s construction site. 

Two years later, Rockefeller Center carried on the tradition and gave New York its first official tree lighting ceremony featuring a delightful 50-foot tree. And now, over 90 years later, this simple gift has grown by epic proportions, yet it continues to bring its message of hope and happiness to the world each year at Christmastime.
Giving The Tree The Trim 

It takes a lot of effort and a little bit of magic to decorate an eight-story beauty in the middle of Manhattan. Here are a few mind-boggling stats on this iconic tree:
The 2023 tree stands 80-feet tall and 43-feet wide and weighs 12 tons.
Over five miles of multicolored lights (50,000!) brighten the Center’s tree this year.
The star contains three-million Swarovski crystals, stands over 9 feet tall and weighs over 900 pounds!
Finding THE One  Rockefeller Center’s head gardener scouts Norway Spruce trees throughout New York and neighboring states. The trees that are chosen range in height from 80 – 100 feet and are nearing the end of their 80-year lifespan. Although they are usually transported to Manhattan via truck, some trees have arrived by barge and even by plane.
A Happy Ending

After the trees are displayed through mid-January, they are taken to be milled. The lumber is donated to Habitat for Humanity where it will take on a new life in new homes across the region.
Merry Maker Tip: Do you know of a tree that would be oh-so-perfect for this starring role? The folks at Rockefeller Center would love to hear about it. Nominate a tree at

“Christmastime In The City” Retro Christmas Cards
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