It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Every year millions of tourists come to New York City to catch a glimpse of the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and skate a few laps around the world-renowned ice skating rink. The tree gives people a reason to celebrate. It serves as a symbol of hope, a beacon of peace and is the official sign that the holiday season is upon us. This year’s tree arrived in Rockefeller Center this morning and will be raised later today. No matter how hard I try to hold off on celebrating Christmas until Thanksgiving has passed, it is difficult not to be excited by this sight.

(A special thank you to Matt for stopping to take these pictures on his way to work!)

Although the official Christmas tree tradition at Rockefeller Center began in 1933 (the year the 30 Rockefeller Plaza opened),the unofficial tradition began during the Depression-era construction of Rockefeller Center, when workers decorated a small 20 foot balsam fir-tree with strings of cranberries, garlands of paper, and even a few tin cans on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1931. Some accounts have the tree decorated with the tin foil ends of blasting caps. Click here for a photo tribute and history of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

Many Rockefeller trees were given to Rockefeller Center by donors.Members of the Gardens Division of Rockefeller Center, scout in a helicopter for the desired tree in areas including Connecticut, Vermont, Ohio, upstate New York, New Jersey, and even Ottawa, Canada. Once a suitable tree is located, a crane supports it while it is cut, and moves it to a custom telescoping trailer that can transport trees up to 125 feet (38 m) tall, although the width of New York City streets passing through Rockefeller Center limits the height of the trees to 110 ft. This year’s tree is  74 feet tall and hails from the town of Mahopac (in Putnam County) which is located approximately 50 miles from Manhattan.  The 75-year-old Norway spruce, is especially meaningful since it comes from the yard of 9/11 first responder and firefighter and was found on September 11th of this year.

Once at the Rockefeller Center, the tree is supported by four guy wire attached at its midpoint, and by a steel spike at its base. Scaffolding is put up around the tree to assist workers in putting up 30,000 lights attached to 5 miles of wiring. The star that has topped the tree since 2004 is 9.5 feet in diameter and weighs 550 pounds and is made out of the famous Swarovski crystals.

This year, the annual Christmas at Rockefeller Center tree lighting celebration will take place on November 30, 2010.

78 thoughts on “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

  1. Last year while in NYC, viewing the lights on the tree and seeing the window displays at Macy’s, I couldn’t help but tear up. (I’m a big softie!) It was all so beautiful (it was also a big blizzard) – really does put you in the Christmas Spirit.

    Let the season begin!

  2. Oh…I am so homesick! I can smell the chestnuts roasting as I come up from Penn Station and you can’t help but get intoxicated by the energy at that time of year.
    Thanks for helping me remember and congrats on being freshly pressed!

  3. I lived within minutes of NYC when I was going up and being an avid skater and my mom loving the city you’d think I would have visited there many times.

    Nope. Never been there.

    It’ll always be just one of those places on my bucket list to visit.

    Thanks for the informative post! Glad the tree has more meaning this year than being just from someone’s front lawn in Poughkeepsie .

  4. Just one comment..ITS FREAKIN NOVEMBER NOOBS!!! cant you wait until after thanksgiving, maybe concentrate on the real thanksgiving on how the pilgrims came, indians helped them and then kicked them out and we should consider how awful that was

  5. I’m so excited to see the tree! I’m going to have to detour and walk by Rockefeller on my way home tonight.

    Thanks for this great post with a little bit of history and about where the tree came from. Definitely very meaningful that it came from the yard of a 9/11 first responder!


  6. I love Christmas more than anything, but this year it started too soon. I’m not ready yet! Check out my post about Christmas

    Yesterday my mom and I started Christmas shopping. I wasn’t ready for it, but she pointed out that it’s just over a month away. I guess it’s better to get a head start than to have to scramble to buy gifts that end up being awful.

    Merry Early Christmas!
    <3 Milieu

  7. I live no where near but it is always interesting to hear how other cities do it. Chicago had a contest in which people could vote online for their favorite tree. Thanks for sharing the pics and congrats for being freshly pressed.

  8. Thank you to everyone who decided to check out my blog today. I am so excited to be featured on freshly pressed and I can’t wait to check out all of your blogs over the weekend!

    Thanks for reading and commenting. Today has certainly been full of little things!

  9. I love the really tall lit-up Christmas trees. I could just stand there all day and look at one. I love when shopping malls have their whole district lit-up from the store to the parking lot.

  10. I love Christmas but can’t we wait our celebrating until after Thanksgiving! OMG! Give it a break! You know it’s all about the commercialism and that’s so sad and scary! What a shame! My family & I are going to intentionally make it less about money & gifts this year just because…it’s supposed to be about Jesus & celebrating family…and that’s what we’re going to do…who cares about more shirts, more toys, come on, really? I will have fun listening to Christmas music, because I love it and it moves me and makes me think of baby Jesus in the desert, really, with the wise men on their way whether or not it’s true it’s a fabulous story. The song are beautiful. I will decorate and bake cookies and have my family close, that is Christmas! Amen!

  11. I agree, it’s difficult not to get excited about Christmas before Thanksgiving. It’s almost impossible to ‘play it cool’ until Thanksgiving has passed.

    I have always wanted to go to Rockefeller Center during the holidays to see the famous tree. Thanks for posting pics and for the backstory of the tree lighting!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!


  12. Hey, just came across your blog on Freshly Pressed, congratulations! I’m worried about getting too excited too early, I have a tendency to burn out before Christmas Day arrives but it’s difficult not to get carried away when you see stuff like this! I’m from England and we don’t do things on the same grand scale that you do over there, it’s enviable.

    Also, if you have a few seconds why not have a peek at my Christmas blog –

  13. I was there last week, watching the skaters at night after a packed day of sightseeing.
    No, I didn’t enter the marathon!
    I wish I was able to be there for the switch on.

  14. the irony of it is most people who say christmas is great and about jesus (which it is and should be) are the ones who celebrate easter with the easter bunny, kinda amusing how markets can totally trick people into buying useless and poinless things, this is the trick we fell for: jesus rose from the dead so to celebrate a bunnywhich represents new life goes and hides eggs and money and what not and the kids have to find them -_-. “oh but its fun for the kids” parents usually say, yeah and it shows how gullable they are and its not good. the only problem in christmas is kids could really care less about the birth of jesus, and thats mostly because when there are so many shiny adn interesting things, the thing that represents jesus is a long boring mass at night when everyones tired. Maybe makind the nativity scene less corny and more professional and realistic would help

  15. I am going to be in NYC for Christmas this year, coming all the way from Australia!!!! I can’t wait to see the giant Christmas tree!! Will be a tear-jerking moment for sure!!

  16. I love the Christmas season. For me this season means reunions and lots of food! And hopefully, I get to experience at least one Christmas season in NYC. It’s one of my dream place to visit. :)

  17. Wow! I live in Australia. Lets just say that the majority of our Christmas trees over 2metres high are fakies!
    You’ve excited me about visiting New York, again. Thanks!!! I’ll have to visit at Christmas and pray for some snow.
    And it’s not too early over here. Thanksgiving isn’t really celebrated (understandably) but I can’t wait to rejoice over Christ’s birth, and our fake spruce is already adorning our living room. :-)
    Congrats on your fp’d post!

  18. I lived in NYC for two years, and I always just felt a bit happier when all of the window displays started to go up. I took my mom each Christmas to see the tree, plus the Swarovski light display, which has also become a NYC favorite. I also really loved the hanging lights at the Time Warner Building in Columbus Circle. Gotta love Christmas in NYC! (That’s why my icon is the Rockefeller Tree!)

  19. I love Christmas and all that it involves. The lights, music, fun, Santa…….everything about it never wears out! This year the Christmas Spirit is starting early for me. I usually buy Christmas socks to start the celebration!

  20. I am not a fan of NYC at all… except around Christmas. The tree, the skating rink, the shopping… even the carriage rides bring back memories. It’s a great place to be around the holidays.

  21. I don’t know about it starting to look like Christmas yet, but it sure does sound a lot like Christmas!

    I can’t remember hearing the music this early in the year; aren’t they supposed to wait until after Thanksgiving?

    I think we need to focus on being thankful for things before we start focusing on getting things.

    Ammon @

  22. oh my gosh i cant believe how close christmas already! thank you for posting these pics they are really cool, im soo excited for christmas the tree at Disneyland is up and when i went last week and saw it for the first time i just stopped and stared in amazement……christmas tree’s are so beautiful!

  23. The near 70 degree temps we have been having in Michigan so far this month have been slowing my holiday tendencies…the ‘fake’ tree usually goes up day before, of or after Thanksgiving in my house based on where we have our turkey dinner. The Christmas music starts the day after Thanksgiving and I am perfectly happy celebrating all aspects of each holiday while remembering the original meanings as well. I am thankful for family and friends, humbled by Jesus’ entire story and excited to enjoy snow, hot cocoa and twinkling lights. Balance and moderation in all things! Thanks for sharing the history and the pics!

  24. I love the christmass vibe thats in town in december! very nice to see that the tree’s are already starting to get placed. greetings ixult

  25. I lived in NYC for just some months. My aunt insisted that I see this tree, and ever since then, I always want to go back and have a look. I’m currently in LA.

  26. First off, congrats on freshly pressed! Second, I also love Christmas, just can’t believe that it is so close already. I have always wanted to see this in person, but that is not going to happen this year, so thanks a million for the pics, and please update later! This Christmas is going to be a pretty tight one in my house. My husband and I are both in law enforcement and with budget cuts and everything else everyone is going through, money is a huge issue. I hope that you have an amazing Christmas.

  27. I am actually excited for the Christmas season as my daughter is old enough to really start paying attention to all of the lights and shiny decorations. The only trick will be to keep from pulling down our tree once we put it up. Nice article.

  28. I’m so jealous. I wish I could be in NYC to see all the Christmas lights go up. I bet it’s much harder to hold off all the Christmas celebrations up there than here in Texas.

  29. Yay Christmas! I love New York, but I’ve never been lucky enough to see the tree. I never go when it’s fall/winter time. It’s always been in the spring/fall. Seeing the tree up is one of the things on my bucket list for sure though.

    Christmas will definitely be making my list of 365 favorite things. Check them out at my site if you want. :)

    P.S. Congrats on freshly pressed!!

  30. I was one of those tourists last year and was so ecstatic when I spent Christmas and New Year’s in New York. Looking at your photos has made me so super nostalgic – there is nothing quite like it!

  31. I passed by Rockefeller earlier this month, so I wasn’t able to see the beautiful Christmas tree of which you have described here. But, thanks for the pics. They make me feel like I have seen it in person. :)

  32. I watched on the Today Show how they picked the Christmas tree this year and so them bring it into Rockefeller Center. I would love to be able to visit New York and see the tree and all the lights in person. How lucky you are to be able to see this view firsthand. I feel the excitement just by looking at your pictures. It is so neat that you can just stop and take pictures and share with the world as New York gets ready for Christmas.

  33. Christmass is beautifull in New York, I should drive down to check it out again… With about 70 colleges and universities in the area it gets a little lonely up here in Boston when all the students go back home for christmass and the new year…

  34. Christmas-time is magical in NYC, I have visited once- and I absoluted loved Rockefeller Center ice-rink and walking around looking at all the fanulous window displays etc. Made me feel like I was in a movie… ;o)

  35. I’m starting to feel Christmas coming now. Almost time for the tree, and with me being obsessed with lights, my tree is very bright :)

    Thanks for the post and the pics.

  36. Where I live, “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” the day after Halloween. The radio started to play Christmas songs and my neighbors put their Christmas light up. And now it’s not even Thanksgivings yet and we already have a blizzard and a white Christmas. I’m telling you, something is wrong :) Celebrating Christmas in NY city is on my bucket list. I’ll get to that tree eventually and even though I suck at skating, I will trip and fall on that skating rink someday. Happy Turkey Day to you! Cheers!

  37. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to “return the favour”.I am trying to find things to improve my website!Is it ok if i use some of the things i saw here?!

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