History of the New York Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Are you and your family planning a New York City bus trip to the Big Apple this holiday season? The infamous Rockefeller Christmas Tree in New York City is definitely a place to check off your list. But, were you aware that there is a much more detailed history rooted in the branches of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. It was not just planted and decorated with millions of lights and ornaments overnight. Learn more in today’s blog!


Do you know how the Rockefeller Christmas tree came to be?

History of the New York Rockefeller Christmas Tree

It all dates back to the Great Depression Era in America in the early 1930’s. A group of New York City construction workers were hired by John D. Rockefeller to build Rockefeller Center. The depression created a low morale around the holiday season in New York City and Christmas spirit was scarce. To lift their spirits, the construction workers decided to place a small Christmas tree in the center of what would become the longstanding landmark for the Rockefeller Christmas tree and blanketed the tree with paper garland, cranberries and tin cans.


In 1933, the first official Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center debuted and a corresponding ceremony unveiled the 40 foot tall spruce decorated with 700 twinkling lights. An additional feature, the bordering ice skating rink that surrounds the tree, was added in 1936. While the tree remained unlit during the dark times of the war in 1944, spectators once again enjoyed the lights in 1945 when the war had ended.


Beginning in 1950, it began to take workers nine days to fully decorate the Rockefeller Christmas Tree in New York City. For the first time ever, viewers from the entire country could tune into the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony as it was seen live on NBC’s The Kate Smith Show in 1951.  For years to come, many famous celebrities and singers have broadcasted and been involved in the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting ceremonies.


In early years, the actual spruce for the Rockefeller Center celebration was donated to New York City. Subsequently, the trees were discovered in neighboring states of New York City, like Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Vermont. On occasion, trees were taken from areas of Canada. To date, these trees have glistened from that early 700 bulb tree to a spruce decorated with 45,000 rainbow LED strings of lights and a 25,000 crystal Swarovski star topper. Beginning in 2007, after the holiday season, the tree has continually been donated to Habitat for Humanity providing lumber for houses throughout the community.


This year marks the 85th year of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree celebration spectacular in downtown New York City. Thousands will watch from their television sets and viewers from all over the world will watch with amazement when the Rockefeller Christmas tree is lit for the first time this winter on December 2nd, 2015.

Are you ready for Christmas in New York City?

Make your reservation today by calling 1-800-754-9097, or visiting our contact page here. We provide quality charter bus transportation services for the greater Baltimore area.  Along with our line of luxury charter buses for event transportation, Superior Tours also offers daily bus lines to New York City. Tour specials are also offered throughout the year that includes special trips to Washington D.C., Maine, and Missouri. To learn more about the specials offered, visit our tour specials page. We keep our list of tour specials up to date and are sure to add new specials as we schedule them. Be sure to check back regularly to learn about new specials being added.   Follow Superior Tours today on Facebook,  Twitter,  Google+, and Pinterest today!

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