In conjunction with Ana's Advent Calendar 2013,
I'm doing a post here on the Christmas trees being dressed in public
Since the early 20th century, it has become common in many cities, towns, and department stores to put up public Christmas trees outdoors. Well known public displays are:
|Macy's Lenox Square Atlanta|
The Macy's Great Tree in Atlanta - (a tradition since 1948 - 2013 lighting scheduled at Lenox Square Mall on Thanksgiving night, Thursday, November 28, 2013).
|Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree - New York City|
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City - (2013 lighting scheduled on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013).
|Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree - London, England|
The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree gift from Oslo, Norway in London (a traditon since 1947 - 2013 lighting scheduled on Thursday, December 5, 2013).
|U.S. National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C.|
The United States' National Christmas Tree in Washington DC (2013 lighting Ceremony Friday, December 6th, 2013).
|Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree|
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree dates back to the Depression Era days. The tallest tree displayed at Rockefeller Center came in 1948 and was a Norway Spruce that measured in at 100 feet tall and hailed from Killingworth, Connecticut. The first tree at Rockefeller Center was placed in 1931. It was a small unadorned tree placed by construction workers at the center of the construction site. Two years later, another tree was placed there, this time with lights. These days, the giant Rockefeller Center tree is laden with over 25,000 Christmas lights.
|The United States National Christmas Tree|
The United States' National Christmas Tree has been lit each year since 1923 on the South Lawn of the White House. Today, the lighting of the National Christmas Tree is part of what has become a major holiday event at the White House. A few notable exceptions to the ceremony occurred when President Jimmy Carter lit only the crowning star atop the tree in 1979 in honour of the Americans being held hostage in Iran. The same was true in 1980, except that the tree was fully lit for 417 seconds, one second for each day the hostages had been held in captivity.
|Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree|
The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree s a special commemorative gift from the City of Oslo, Norway as a token of appreciation for the British support of Norwegian resistance during the Second World War. The annual lighting ceremony involves the Mayor of Oslo presenting the gift to the Mayor of London.
Other cities displaying "gifted" trees are:
Boston, where the tree is a gift from the province of Nova Scotia as thanks for rapid deployment of supplies and rescuers to the 1917 ammunition ship explosion that leveled the city of Halifax.
Newcastle upon Tyne, where the main civic Christmas tree is an annual gift from the city of Bergen, in thanks for the part played by soldiers from Newcastle in liberating Bergen from Nazi occupation.
And in addition to the tree in London, Norway also annually gifts a Christmas tree to Washington, D.C. as a symbol of friendship between Norway and the US and as an expression of gratitude from Norway for the help received from the US during World War II.
The Traditional Lifetime of a Christmas Tree
Both setting up and taking down a Christmas tree are associated with specific dates. Traditionally, Christmas trees were not brought in and decorated until Christmas Eve (24 December) or, for those whose traditions celebrated Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day, the 23 December, and then removed the day after Twelfth Night (5 January). To have a tree up before or after these dates was even considered bad luck. Fortunately, that's not the case any more, since we still had our tree up long after Twelfth Night and the Epiphany this year.
|Our tree and decorations on Christmas Eve 2012|
In many areas, it has become customary to set up one's Christmas tree at the beginning of the Advent season. Some families in the U.S. and Canada will put up a Christmas tree soon after the American Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday of November), and Christmas decorations can show up even earlier in retail stores, often the day after Halloween (31 October).
Other households do not put up their tree until the second week of December, and leave it up until 6 January (Epiphany). In Germany, traditionally the tree is put up on 24 December and taken down on 7 January, though many start one or two weeks earlier, while in Roman Catholic homes the tree may be kept until February 2 (Candlemas).
|Our 2012 rotating tree, Decorations and Gifts|
Our 2012 tree saw Candlemas come and go, and watched the Easter Bunny hop on by, too. It was down, however, by the time the ghosties and goblins came out to play at the end of October, so it never turned into a Halloween tree. When we took it down, I'm not going to say for certain, but I think it may have caught a few of our neighborhood Labor Day fireworks before it was gently laid to rest in its green plastic resting place.
|Not our tree. Honest. Though it could've been|
For a preview into the history of the Christmas Tree and more information about the month-long event, please visit Ana's Advent Calendar.