The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony has become a national tradition hearkening back to the days of the Great Depression. On Christmas Eve of 1931, a group of construction workers erected a small, Spruce Christmas tree on the site of what would become Rockefeller Center. In Rockefeller Center’s inaugural year, 1933, the first official  Tree Lighting took place.

The tree must be at least 65 feet tall and can be as much as 100 feet tall. In the construction world, 10 feet is the average of one floor in a building. Translate that to the selected tree and it means it is at least 6 stories tall or taller. The one time I had the privilege of seeing the tree in person, I was amazed at its size. It was difficult to take a picture of the whole thing.

I’m sure you’ve seen movies that had skaters enjoying the outdoor rink at Rockefeller Center during the holidays. Next time you see that scene, notice the walls around the rink. When you are standing on the sidewalk around Rockefeller Center the rink is actually below you. I’m short and couldn’t see over the people to see down onto the rink. I could see the skaters on the far side of the ice. It took some of the magic away because I couldn’t see all of it. The music from the live orchestra that was playing from below was wonderful to listen to as the sound carried up to us.

The stories of the Macy’s Christmas window displays are also true. Much better to see in person than on TV. The decorations in the store blew me away. Almost more decorations to look at than merchandise. Maybe it was because that is what I wanted to see. The hustle and bustle of crowds was another great experience. My visit there will never be forgotten.

If you get the chance, seeing the tree lit in Rockefeller Center and experiencing the Christmas holiday decorations in New York City is a visual treat. One of those things when you see it in person, you turn circles slowly and say Wow as if it is a two or three syllable word. Mind you the hotels rooms are triple the price they are in January, but in my opinion it’s a once in your life-time experience, so worth it.