A Tree for New York City

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!

A crane jockeys the 75-foot, 10-ton Norway spruce from the yard of Nancy Keller in Mifflinville PA on Wednesday November 10th.

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 crane that lifted the massive Norway spruce was able to lay the tree on the 115-foot trailer specially made, and only used for, transporting the Rockefeller Christmas tree to NYC
Each branch on the 46-foot-wide evergreen had already been carefully wrapped and tied in place
Children inspect the stump and count the rings

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!

Visiting my Grandpa in Florida
So glad my grandparents made the trip for my wedding!

Raise Your Glass

With the new year fast approaching, it is easy to look forward to all of the exciting things that will take place in 2011.

But it is worth mentioning that 2010 was certainly a good year. Matt and I got engaged and many of our friends celebrated their own weddings. Abby took a new job as the head coach for an awesome swim team and has managed to lead them to a top ranking so far this season. Matt, Abby, my mom and I successfully completed the 110 mile bike ride that is the Pan Mass and raised more than 20,000 dollars to fight cancer. Matt and I conquered Half Dome in Yosemite. And although the Red Sox didn’t have their best season, the Yankees weren’t able to defend their World Series title. I started my blog and was featured on Freshly Pressed! All in all, it was a good year.

I already have some good news for 2011 that concerns my employment. Unfortunately, I am not ready to make my announcement official (I know, the suspense is killing me too!). But in the spirit of things, I thought I would post this video that was featured on the Ellen Show earlier this year, celebrating her 1200th episode. Don’t get excited, I am not going to working for Ellen. But watching this made me realize, Ellen has the best job in the world. Not only because she is famous and probably she makes a lot of money (but let’s be honest, compared to Oprah, she is destitute), but because she truly loves what she does. I think we can all be inspired by her passion for life, her infectious laughter, and her killer dance moves.

2010 was a good one, but 2011 is certainly coming in strong…

New Year’s Resolution

The history of making New Year’s resolution began with the Babylonians approximately 4,000 years ago. The Babylonians New Year’s Day was March 23rd. March was a logical time period for the New Year because spring begins and crops are planted. The Romans celebrated the New Year on March 1st, not January 1st.

New Years Day was changed to January 1st by Julius Caesar to honor Janus, the two-faced god who looks backwards into the old year and forward into the new. January 1st has no astronomical or agricultural significance. It was a random date selected by Julius Caesar. The vision of Janus started the custom of New Year’s resolutions. Most of the resolutions were based on moral favor.

Studies show that in the past 10 years, 40 to 45% of American adult make one or more resolutions each year. Among the top New Year’s resolutions are resolutions about weight loss, exercise, and stopping to smoke. Also popular are resolutions dealing with better money management / debt reduction. Although many people fail to achieve their goals, or break their resolution before the year is up; you are always going to come closer to achieving your goal if you set one, than if you don’t even try.

With our wedding less than six months away, Matt and I are feeling the pressure. The pressure to get things in place, the pressure to start paying our bills, and the pressure to look good. Yes, we are joining the masses and making a New Year’s resolution to get in tip-top wedding shape.

After a wonderful week at home, Matt and I returned to New York to a mess slush and snow. We are tired but decided to make a trip to the gym. We kicked off “the new year” a week early with a solid work out and a healthy dinner. Later that night, Matt made a good point when he said, “we are starting our New Year’s resolution a week early. That means we will always be a week skinnier than everyone else.”

So to everyone else trying to get in shape during 2011, catch us if you can!