The Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center is this Wednesday so we found these five quirky facts about the most famous Christmas tree in the world.
After the holidays, the Christmas tree lives on. For example, in 1971 they used the 30 bags of mulch on nature trails across the city. In 2005, Habitat for Humanity used the heartwood to make doorframes for houses for the needy; and last year, about 15 percent of the tree went into making paper for a book called The Carpenter’s Gift. In 2007, the tree was used to build houses in New Orleans for those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Greenest tree around. Since 2007, the tree has been lit completely by solar-powered LED lights–over 30,000 of them!
People try to climb it. Most do it for fun, but in 1979, one 27-year-old man scaled it with purpose. He made it all the way to the top, shouting, “Free the 50!”—a reference to the Americans who were being held hostage at the U.S. embassy in Iran. The police talked him down from the branches by carefully explaining to him that climbing the tree would not, in fact, help release the prisoners.
That’s a lot of lights. Plugged in end to end, the lights on the Rockefeller Center tree would stretch 5 miles, about the distance from 110th Street to 14th Street along Broadway. For reference, the perimeter of Central Park is 6 miles.
Stumped? You’ll never guess what they use the stump of the tree for after the holidays. They’re donated to the US Equestrian Team to use as obstacle jumps for the horses.