Rockefeller Christmas Tree lights up

The Thanksgiving feasts are over, the seasonal sales have begun, and a 94-foot Norway spruce from upstate New York is the 84th annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

The lighting ceremony took place on the evening of Wednesday, November 30, at Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan. It will be on display through January 7, 2017.

Tree owners typically must apply for their tree to become the Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree, an annual tradition dating back to 1931, when workers building Rockefeller Center erected the first tree.

The official Rockefeller Christmas spectacular started in 1933, after Rockefeller Plaza opened. The winner is usually an older Norway Spruce that’s at least 75 feet tall and 45 feet in diameter. Some 34 trees have come from New York state.

Angie and Graig Eichler of Oneonta, New York, donated this year’s tree, which weighs about 14 tons, from their backyard.

They didn’t apply to donate it, however. Instead, Erik Pauze, Rockefeller Center’s head gardener, knocked on their front door last spring while traveling upstate looking for the perfect 2016 tree.

“We are thrilled that our tree is this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree,” said the Eichlers, in a written statement to CNN. “We love our town and we’re so proud that part of Oneonta can be shared with so many people who will see it at Rockefeller Center this holiday season.”

After the holidays are over, the tree will be removed and milled, and its lumber donated to Habitat for Humanity for the 10th year in a row.

Click through the gallery to learn more about the annual Rockefeller Christmas tree and the annual lighting ceremony.

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