A few images from our New England Christmas celebrations! Our first stop was Massachusetts to spend time with Matt’s family.
Then it was up to New Hampshire for a few days with my family.
We had a wonderful time visiting our families. Every year I am reminded just how lucky we all are and how incredible my husband is for putting up with my family and our crazy traditions. Here’s to many more Christmas memories made in our matching jammies!
After surviving hosting Thanksgiving for the first time, Matt and I immediately switched into Christmas mode. On Saturday we went out and bought our first real Christmas tree together. This was always a magical experience for me as a child. About a week after Thanksgiving, my family would drive over to Clark’s Farm and walk through the maze of Christmas trees searching for the best one. Christmas music would be playing over the speakers, Christmas lights were strung around the farm and more often than not, there would be snow on the ground. Once we picked out the tree, we would strap it to the top of the car and drive it home. My dad would string on old fashioned colored lights before we went to town adding ornaments, each of which held special significance to us. It was definitely one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. So, when Matt and I decided to ditch our fake tree for a real one, I wanted to recreate my childhood experience.
Although Hoboken is a lot less intense than NYC, it is still pretty urban. There aren’t farms to buy your tree and sadly, there is no snow. We went to Home Depot to get some lights and Matt convinced me to look at their trees. We walked over to the trees, which were located on the second level of a parking garage, not quite the magical experience I was looking for. The trees were all bundled up so it was hard to tell which one was “the best” but after a few tries, we picked out one that we thought would be good.
As we waited in line, I began to question our purchase. Standing in the cement parking garage, with a tree that I couldn’t fully see, I came to conclusion that I just couldn’t do it. I told Matt to put the tree back and we left. I know– sort of a bratty move. But this was going to be our first tree and I wanted the experience to be more memorable. I mean, really… we were in a parking garage!
We drove up the street to a local nursery that had a hand painted sign out front that said “Fresh Christmas Trees for your Home.” I knew we would provide a good home for a tree so in we pulled. Immediately I knew I made the right decision. There were lights strung up, Christmas music playing and the trees were all unwrapped so you could get a good look at them. The man helping us made sure we got a great tree — he wouldn’t let us take home something we didn’t love. It was a great experience — well worth the increased price we had to pay as compared to Home Depot (right Matt?)! We even got to take photos of ourselves as elves before we paid!
Matt lugged the tree into our apartment, definitely a sight to see since our tree is probably 11 feet tall!
And, just like his father, he couldnt’ wait to start vacuuming up the needles once the tree was standing!
Since our ceilings are 15′ high, we knew we wanted a big tree – I just had no idea how fat it was until we got it inside!
Getting the lights on the tree proved to be a challenging task, especially for someone with a slight obsessiveness. Matt finally made me stop fidgeting with the lights and poured me a glass of eggnog to enjoy in front of the tree.
We still need to add some ornaments and a tree skirt but the tree is looking good and our apartment smells wonderful. Here’s to the magic of Christmas!
In honor of tonight’s Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, I have gathered pictures of some of the most well decorated and creative Christmas trees. I hope that these help inspire some of your own decorating! Enjoy!
Last year, I wrote a post about the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Matt works near Rockefeller Center and on November 12th when he was walking to work, he passed by the Christmas tree that had just been brought in for the holiday season. I used this pictures in my post where I wrote about the history of this famous tree. That day my blog was Freshly Pressed and a few thousand people visited “The Little Things” that day to read more about the holiday festivities of New York City.
As I wrote last year, many Rockefeller trees are given to Rockefeller Center by regular citizens (I know, I was shocked too when I learned that there wasn’t a giant tree farm outside of NYC that supplied giant Christmas trees). 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.
Most New Yorkers don’t learn the history of the tree until the night of the tree lighting when the commentators tell its story. Thankfully, I have an “in” to this year’s tree – my amazing Grandfather!
This year’s Rockefeller Christmas tree hails from a small town in Pennsylvania called Mifflinville. This town is just 5 miles from the little town that my grandparents, aunt and uncle home. So you can imagine their excitement when they learned that the very tree that brought me blogging fame and glory last year, would be coming from their neck of the woods for this year’s holiday season. My grandfather diligently cut out the newspaper articles and mailed them over for my blogging purposes!
This year’s tree was nearly cut down by its owners 30 years ago; however after giving it a little pruning, he decided to keep in on his property. Thankfully he did. While driving along Interstate 80 last march, Rockefeller’s head gardener spotted this 75-year-old, 75 foot tall Norway spruce and knew it would be the perfect tree for the world’s most famous tree stand. After months of preparations and frequent visits to tend to the spruce, the official decision to send this tree to New York City.
The South Center Township Police were hired to watch the property on Halloween weekend and 24 hours a day starting on November 2nd. And as a thank you to the tree’s owners, they have been invited to visit New York this holiday season as guests of Rockefeller Center. And in the spring, the center gardening team will return to Mifflinville to plant an umbrella pine in the tree’s place.
On the morning of Wednesday November 10th, camera crews, radio personalities and approximately 150 locals gathered to watch the chain saw make quick work of the soon-to-be famous tree. In about six minutes, one man sliced through the 5-foot-wide trunk. A crane slowly lifted the tree and loaded it onto the 115-foot “tree trailer” and made to drive to the big city.
The tree branches will be covered with more than 30,000 lights and topped with the Swarovski crystal star, a 9.5 foot diameter creation made from 25,000 crystals and another 720 lightbulbs. The lights will be lit for the first time during the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Wednesday November 30th and the tree will remain up through the January 7th for the thousands of tourists who visit New York over the holiday season.
But what is most interesting about this story is what happens to the tree afterwards. After the holidays, the tree will become lumber for Habitat for Humanity and any remnants will be ground into pulp for paper to be used in printing of “The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree.”
Thank you grandpa for providing this incredible story. It could not be more fitting that he sent me this story; my grandparents love Christmas more than anyone I know. Not the material aspect, but the joy that comes from decorating their house (they have made hundreds of homemade holiday decorations over the years!) and the beauty of a well decorated tree. Thank you for passing down your love of the holidays to my mom, and now to me. I can’t wait until next Sunday to send you pictures of my tree!
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.