Christmas Tree Arrives In New York City’s Rockefeller Center, Signaling The Start Of The Holiday Season

A beautiful scene from the 83rd Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting on December 2, 2015, in New York City.
Theo Wargo / Getty Images

Whether you’re ready or not, the holiday season is already upon us. One sure indication — the famed Rockefeller Center Christmas tree — is now up in New York City.

The 72-foot-tall Norway spruce arrived at its new home on Saturday, November 10. The tree weighs an estimated 12 tons and has a 45-foot diameter.

Erik Pauze, the head gardener for Rockefeller Center, said that he first spotted the special 75-year-old tree from Wallkill, New York, about five years ago and knew that it was destined to one day become the complex’s holiday focal point.

The tree was cut down on Thursday, November 8, and then began an approximately 75-mile trek into Manhattan aboard a 115-foot-long flat-bed truck, according to NBC 4 New York. A large crane was used to hoist the evergreen into place at Rockefeller Center.

“We’re honored, we’re happy, we’re sad to see her leave a little bit, but we know that everybody is going to enjoy it,” said Lissette Gutierrez, who donated the tree, which is named Shelby, reported the New York Post.

“It’s the world’s tree — I’m so happy to be able to share her with everyone. Millions of people will come to visit Shelby,” Gutierrez’s wife, Shirley Figueroa, told the Associated Press.

The women plan on planting some new trees to replace Shelby.

“I believe if you take something down, you gotta put something back, so we’re definitely going to plant… a few more trees because she took up a lot of space,” Figueroa told NBC 4 New York.

According to the Rockefeller Center website, there has been a giant Christmas tree adorning the premises for more than eight decades.

“Today, more than half a million people pass by the tree every day, making Rockefeller Center the epicenter of New York City’s holiday celebrations,” it is stated on the website.

Now that the evergreen is all set up, it will now get decorated with more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights and a brand-new 900-pound star for its very top. The new star, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, is comprised of 3 million Swarovski crystals and has a diameter of more than nine feet.

The tree will be lit up for the first time on Wednesday, November 28, and thousands of people are expected to witness it firsthand. For those that can’t make it to New York City, the 86th Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony — complete with music performances — will air live on NBC from 8 to 10 p.m. ET.

After the tree is taken down on January 7, 2019, it will be donated to Habitat for Humanity. It will get milled, treated, and turned into lumber that the organization will use to build new homes. This is the 12th consecutive year that Habitat for Humanity will receive the donation.