4. What Happens to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree After?

Rockefeller Christmas Tree Stump

It’s always sad to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree being taken down, but its purpose goes beyond the holidays. The tree was first recycled in 1971, providing roughly 30 bags of mulch that was spread across nature trails around the city. Over the years, it has also provided resources for several projects: in 2005, for example, Habitat for Humanity used the wood to make door frames for houses for the needy, and two years later, the tree was used to build houses in New Orleans for those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

This year’s tree will also be donated (as it has been for fifteen consecutive years) to Habitat for Humanity. First, the wood needs to be milled and treated, before it is made into lumber for home building. The tree itself also inspired the book, The Carpenter’s Giftwritten by David Rubel and illustrated by Jim LaMarche in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. Fittingly so, about 15% of the 2012 tree was used to make the paper needed for the book’s production.

One year, the largest portion of the trunk was previously donated to the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team headquarters in New Jersey, where it was used as an obstacle jump for training horses. In some years, a table was made for the tree donors.