80-Foot Tree Marks 90 Years Of The Rockefeller Christmas Tradition


On Saturday, November 13, Rockefeller Center welcomed a 79-foot tree as this year’s big holiday attraction. Per tradition, the tree is a Norway spruce, and this one has traveled to New York both from Maryland and from the hearts of the family that donated it to help Rockefeller usher in Christmas 2021 with an especially meaningful tree.

This year marks 90 years since the first seeds were planted for this towering Christmas tree tradition. Back then, the tree stood 20 feet tall adorned in spare recycled goods found around the city, literal remnants of a nation in the throes of the Great Depression. Now, the height minimum is 65 feet all a-glisten in Swarovski crystals. When can you see this impressive spruce all lit up?


Lighting up the 2021 Rockefeller Christmas Tree

This year, NBC will broadcast a live special, Christmas in Rockefeller Center, on December 1, coinciding with the lighting of the tree. The event begins at 8 pm EST and includes abundant music and holiday cheer. Immediately after, Kelly Clarkson is hosting her own Christmas special featuring new songs and ways of giving back.

Maryland residents Devon and Julie Price are excited to share the same joy their tree has brought them with the rest of the country / TODAY video screenshot

RELATED: Step Back Through Time And See Christmas Trees From 100 Years Ago

After it is officially lit, the 2021 Rockefeller tree will be illuminated from 6 am to 12 am. On Christmas, it will be lit for 24 hours. On New Year’s Eve, the tree will be lighting the way to 2022 from 6 am to 9 pm. This is celebrated as the 89th year that erecting and lighting a towering tree at Rockefeller Center has been an annual tradition. The very first occurrence took place in 1931, when workers at the venue pooled their money for a 20-foot balsam fir. It was two years later that it then settled in as a tradition for the ages.

From one family’s hearts to the entire nation

Devon and Julie Price live in Elkton, Maryland, and for years resided near the towering silhouette of 2021’s future Rockefeller Christmas tree. The tree itself is over 80 years old, not unlike the tradition it is now participating in, but the Price family never imagined such a fate for it. “We never thought a tree on our property would be selected for Rockefeller Center,” Devon admitted. “Nope, not in a million years.”

The first tree stood at 20 feet, and two years later such a fixture became an annual tradition / Wikimedia Commons

“As a family, we’ve gone from, ‘No, we can’t let this tree go,’ to now, we worry about it,” he went on. “We worry about how it survived a storm or a heavy rain or heavy wind. So, we’re very excited to have it go to New York City.” Julie added, “We’re happy to share it with everyone.” Being able to share it meant the spruce had to travel for 150 miles in a flatbed before being carefully placed in its new home. In preparation for the big reveal in December, it is to be decorated with five miles of string lights that includes 50,000 LED bulbs. It will be crowned by a 900-pound star encrusted with 3 million Swarovski crystals to usher in the wonder of Christmas after a difficult last few years, a huge contrast to 2020’s oft-belittled tree.

The 2021 Rockefeller Christmas tree will stand at around 80 feet with 900 pounds of crystals at the top / Flickr

RELATED: Radio City Rockettes Returning For Christmas After 2020 COVID Cancellation

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