Today, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is an institution, but that wasn’t always the case. Here is a look at five little known facts about the iconic tree, via Thrillist.
1. The first tree was put up unofficially
In 1931, a group of construction workers at the then rising Rockefeller Center put up the tree to celebrate the fact that they had jobs in the midst of the depression. A clerk distributed their paychecks from the foot of the tree later that night, according to Thrillist.
2. The first “official” tree went up in 1933
A publicist organized the first tree-lighting ceremony. The tree was a 50-foot pine decorated with 700 lights.
3. The tree lighting ceremony was first televised in 1951
The “Kate Smith Show” was the first to broadcast the lighting of the tree. Now NBC carries the event.
4. The largest tree to date was 100ft tall
Although the tree usually around 65 feet tall, the record-setter came from Killingworth, Connecticut and was on display in 1999.
5. This year’s tree is 90 years old
It weighs thirteen tons, and traveled 155 miles to Manhattan. Rockefeller Center’s head gardener Erik Pauze had been eyeing the choice evergreen for years. [Thrillist] – Christopher Cameron