The world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, which draws millions of tourists to New York City each year and has been featured in countless holiday films over several decades, has turned out to be a literal big phony.
Suspicions arose when the tree’s installation this year took place under the cover of darkness, with no advance public announcement. The installation of the tree is a tradition observed since the early 1930s, rivaled only by the tree’s official lighting ceremony.
Rockefeller Center officials reluctantly revealed the ruse when rumors were confirmed that the upstate New York family who donated this year’s tree had a change of heart, and decided not to cut down the 85 foot tall Norway Spruce.
“My grandfather planted that tree almost 90 years ago,” said Bruce Connor, the tree’s current owner. “He loved Christmas and after we made the decision, we couldn’t sleep,” he said. “My wife was a wreck just thinking about the tree not being there anymore.”
There was no ‘backup’ tree considered, since the honor of having one’s tree become the centerpiece of a worldwide celebration has never before been rejected. “I hope people understand, said Connor. I hope the world understands.”
Initial reaction from tourists in New York City was subdued. “I don’t care if the tree is artificial or not,” said Alice Thomas, visiting with her family from Chicago. “We came here to take in the sights, ice skate at the rink, and do some shopping. I think it looks fine, and let’s face it – who likes sweeping up all those needles? I sure wouldn’t. It’s still beautiful.”
Environmental groups praised the action, calling it a step in the right direction toward conservation. A statement released by animal rights group PETA also endorsed Rockefeller Center’s move. In part it read, “The natural habitat of many woodland creatures was spared by this action taken by Rockefeller Center. Remember, people are animals too,” read the somewhat confusing press release.
“The tree looks pretty,” said six-year-old Tracey Thomas.“ It looks like a real tree, but bigger.”
Rockefeller Center spokesperson Marcia Bibb said there is no ill will held toward the Connor family, but said in the future an alternate tree would be considered. “All’s well that ends well,” said Bibb. “The environmentalists are happy, the Connors are happy, and the visitors seem to be enjoying the season as they do every year. Happy holidays!”