The Rockefeller Center Tree On Brand For 2020


Alexzander (AJ) Braaten, Writer

Great things can sometimes disappoint, as is the case for most of 2020. Just as America starts to set its focus on the Holiday season 2020 comes along with another brutal slap to the face. This year’s Rockefeller Center Tree stands less as a reminder of the holidays and more of the bleak world around us.

Ever since 1997, the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center has been a nationally televised event, although the tradition goes back all the way to 1933. It is usually lit the week after Thanksgiving ends and is kept up until early January of the next year. For decades now it has been a New York and a Christmas staple that brings out the holiday cheer in even the grouchiest of Grinches. These famous trees have been featured in a wide variety of Christmas popular culture, most notably in 1992’s “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” and 2003’s “Elf”. All of the trees up until 2020 have gotten praise and have wowed millions so where did this tree go so wrong?

The Rockefeller Center 2020 Christmas tree has been mostly compared to the sad little Christmas tree featured in the holiday classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. The tree is a 75 foot tall Norway Spruce tree acquired from Oneonta, NY. It is the same type of tree that has been used since 1982 and the size is about average with the other trees that have been placed in the Christmas spotlight. The glaring issue with this tree is how barren the limbs look compared to the trees of the past. It looks sickly and a bit lifeless, but hopefully when the lights get put on, it will at least bring out SOME Christmas cheer!

This year’s Rockefeller tree also has one other problem, it was the home of a nesting Saw-Whet Owl. The owl, later named Rockefeller had hitched a ride inside the tree for the 4 hour trip from Oneonta to NYC. The Owl is now in the care of Ravensbeard Wildlife Center where it will be cared for until it can fly again. Saw-Whet Owls are known to be quite migratory, so hopefully Rockefeller will have no problem finding a new home.

The lighting of the Rockefeller tree is a storied and classic Christmas tradition. Hopefully we all can take inspiration from the Charlie Brown Christmas tree and look past its sad exterior to see the hope and joy we can find within. Or we can just power through and hope that 2021 will be a much better year.