How The Biggest Christmas Trees Are Put Up

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December, 2017

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Iconic Christmas Tree Construction

Christmas trees are one of the most recognized symbols of the holidays in America. Take a look at how the biggest and brightest of them reach your hometown every year.

Every year since 1931, people have flocked to Rockefeller Center in New York City to witness the epic symbol of the season. The tallest tree at Rockefeller Center was displayed in 1948, measuring at 100 feet tall. Trees must be over 50 years old, at least 65 feet tall and a minimum of 35 feet wide in order to be considered for a Rockefeller Christmas tree.

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Rockefeller Christmas Tree Transportation

Helicopters help aid the search for the next Christmas tree. The spotters will ride around in the winter time when the other trees have no leaves. Once cut, the tree travels by land, air and sea, whatever it takes to make it to NYC in time for Christmas. The Rockefeller Christmas tree even gets a police escort as it’s being carried on a custom-made trailer.

Using cranes, cables and giant spikes, the tree is stabilized to withstand wind, snow and millions of tourists. A team of over 24 electricians wrap the Rockefeller tree in over 30,000 Christmas lights with over five miles of wiring. The Swarovski Crystal star that sits on top each year weighs over 600 pounds. At the end of each season, the iconic giant tree is removed and donated to Habitat Humanity International to be used for home construction projects.

Christmas Tree Hunting

Hunting for the next giant Christmas tree is a year-long, team effort. Instead of elves, Rockefeller has a head gardener who leads the search. Every year, the U.S. Forest Service helps select the Capitol Christmas Tree, or the “People’s Tree,” that sits on the West Lawn on Capitol Hill. These trees are shipped across the country, creating a giant Christmas logistical challenge that would even impress Santa. In both cases, the giant trees are a donation so that millions of people can enjoy this giant symbol of the holidays.

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Christmas Tree Cultivation

Christmas tree cultivation is an important industry that requires plenty of hands-on work, especially around harvest time. While the preferred harvest method is when people select their own tree and chop it down right away, preparing trees for the market is a different matter entirely. Large farms use helicopters to carry trees across the farm quickly and speed up the harvest process. Farmers have a brief window to get trees cut, transported and baled, which means putting a net over the tree for safer transportation.

Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Giant Christmas trees have become an American tradition but people worry about the environmental impact. You don’t have to worry about depleting forests because christmas trees are grown as a nursery crop specifically to be used as at Christmas. Locally sourced trees minimize carbon emissions and support the local economy. When it comes to displaying America’s most iconic trees, however, some officials have decided to go artificial.

In order to reduce their carbon footprint, major department stores and cities around the country are making the controversial decision to use artificial trees. While some people oppose the breach from tradition, others are excited about the change to an eco-friendly alternative. In San Francisco, residents are celebrating the seventh anniversary of their greener Christmas tree. The 83-foot tree has plastic branches and a giant metal structure. Assembly requires six days, a crane and all hands on deck as crews deck the San Francisco halls.

How do you celebrate the holiday season? Let us know what kind of Christmas Trees make the season merry and bright for your family!

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