The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is one of the most iconic symbols of the holiday season, towering over the heart of New York City with its dazzling lights and sparkling decorations. But how does this magnificent tree find its way to the heart of the Big Apple?

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This year, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree was donated by the McGinley family of Vestal, New York and it is a mammoth tree. This year's tree stands 80 feet tall, is 43 feet in diameter, and is somewhere between 80 and 85 years old.

Image courtesy of Tishman Speyer via Rockefeller Center
Image courtesy of Tishman Speyer via Rockefeller Center
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The selection process for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree begins nearly a year in advance, with scouts scouring the countryside for a suitable spruce. The criteria for selection are rigorous, with the tree needing to stand at least 75 feet tall, have a full appearance, and be free of any significant damage or disfigurement. In addition, trees should also be located within a 250-mile radius of New York City in order to ensure minimal damage during transportation.

Once a potential tree has been identified, the Rockefeller Center team verifies property ownership and inspects the tree's condition to confirm it meets its specific quality standards. This inspection includes taking into account the tree's shape, density, color, and overall health. The team also checks the tree's location, making sure that it can be safely cut down and transported.

SEE ALSO: 2023 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Hails From Vestal, New York

After the tree passes inspection, the owners agree to donate it to Rockefeller Center, and the tree is carefully harvested, often with the use of a crane, to prevent any damage. Once the tree is safely taken down, it is loaded onto a specially designed flatbed truck equipped with hydraulic lifts to ensure that the tree remains steady throughout the journey.

When the tree arrives at Rockefeller Center, the real work begins. The massive tree is placed upright and secured with cables, ensuring that it is safely in place. The team inspects each branch, trimming as necessary, before installing the massive Swarovski star and decorating it with thousands of lights and ornaments. The tree restoration process takes weeks of work, increasing anticipation throughout the city.

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