2020’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree


"Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City" by caruba is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

A previous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree all decorated and lit up. The 2020 tree is set to be lit on live TV on Dec. 2.

Reilly Calvert, Rooster Reporter

Since 1931, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has been a beloved tradition, and over the years many evergreens have been scouted for, put up and unfurled for thousands to view around the holiday season. This year is no exception, with a 75 foot tall Norway spruce arriving from Oneonta, New York on Nov. 14 to be displayed in front of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

This season, however, the tree got a bit more scrutiny than usual, being mocked online for its scraggly appearance in comparison to previous trees. This led several people to call the tree a metaphor for 2020, and to comment that of course, out of all years, this would be the one to feature a despondent-looking Rockefeller tree.

“Could the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree look any worse?  joked Rex Chapman on social media, attaching one of the viral videos of the tree being lifted up by a crane. “2020 on brand.”

The videos and pictures of it being set up makes the tree seem disheveled, with drooping green needles and patchy branches. A spokesperson for Rockefeller Center has hope that the tree will eventually look better, though, and that it is only a matter of time once all the branches settle into place, reported by the “Today” show.

“When it’s unwrapped and first put up, the branches don’t immediately all snap back into place, and those are the photos you’re seeing,” Rockefeller Center said. “It takes a while before it fully settles.”

Hopefully the Christmas tree will adjust to its surroundings and look much nicer once it has recovered from its long trip from Oneonta. Plus, when it is completely decorated and alight, that will surely help “spruce” it up.

Maybe everyone is just being too hard on the tree, which supposedly did not look much different than its predecessors when they were also being hoisted up for the first time. Since the trees tend to be wrapped tightly for extended periods of time while they are driven to their new location, it makes sense that the tree limbs might not be looking the best.

The official Rockefeller Center Twitter account said in the tree’s defense, “Wow, you all must look great right after a two-day drive, huh? Just wait until I get my lights on! See you on December 2!”

Maybe it really does just need time to adjust to being unpackaged. Even if there’s nothing different about the tree at all, the comments and content people came up with based off of its bad first impression gave amusement to many.

Not only is the tree being ridiculed online, but it also came with a stowaway owl living inside. The small, male Northern saw-whet, named “Rockefeller” after where he was found, had to be rescued from the branches and checked over by a wildlife center to make sure he was alright and could eventually be released back into the wild. The owl is definitely receiving more positive media attention than the curious looking Christmas tree he arrived with.

The Ravensbeard Wildlife center has been taking care of him and allowing him to acclimate to his new surroundings while they look for a proper location to release him into. The owl does not seem harmed, just probably very far from home.

The tree is scheduled to be lit up on Dec. 2 and the event will be televised nationally from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST. Due to COVID-19, the tree lighting ceremony will not have any live audience there at the scene. Performances will also be broadcasted for people to watch at home.