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The charming story behind the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

This article is reserved for Aleteia Premium members


Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 12/17/22

An act of generosity brought us the iconic Rockefeller tree that unites people and is a sign of hope.

Have you ever wondered where the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree comes from? 

This year, we wanted to share the sweet story of the act of generosity behind one of the most famous Christmas trees in the world.

The Rockefeller Christmas tree team starts scouting for trees long before December. They receive hundreds of submissions from across the United States.

In June, they were checking out a contender in Glens Falls, a town 3½ hours north of New York City, when a different tree caught their attention instead. 

“When I came in the early part of the summer, I was driving down Main Street here in Queensbury, I saw the tree off to the side and I knew after I was done with another appointment, I have I’d come by and check it out,” said Erik Pauze, head gardener at Rockefeller Center, in an interview with Spectrum News

The 90-year-old Norway Spruce stood on the property of the Lebowitz family, and they were totally surprised when Pauze reached out to them. 

Attorney Neil Lebowitz of Glens Falls, New York, reminisced about the moment when Pauze got in touch with him.

“I had no idea what he was referring to,” he told the Glens Falls Chronicle, but “he sent me a picture of the tree and I recognized the tree and the property right away.”

The Lebowitz family quickly decided to give their tree. They realized this act of generosity would light up so many lives this Christmas season.

“It’s something we can share with everybody else,” Lebowitz said. “It’s our gift to everybody.”

A Christmas tree is a sign of hope, a literal light in the winter darkness. And it connects people around the world, uniting everyone in the magical spirit of Christmas.

The Lebowitz family knew that their tree would be something that brought happiness to countless people.

“It helps make people happy, why not?” Lebowitz said.

Looking at this majestic, 62-foot-tall Spruce, millions of people stand in awe at the majesty of the created world. 

Perhaps this beautiful tree can be a reminder of the Light of the World, whose coming we joyfully await.

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