The tradition of going to New York as a kid and going to see the massive Rockefeller Christmas tree that overshadowed the picturesque skating rink, and the surrounding decorations was almost breathtaking.

I loved looking at the real tree, so big and decorated to perfection. “How did they do that” was a common phrase I asked several times during my enjoyable visit. To me, it was the world’s largest Christmas tree.

I continued to make the trips many times as an adult and still enjoy the adornment of the Christmas spirit that the whole Rockefeller tree exhibits.

One enjoyable memory I have is when my mother would take my nieces and nephews into the city to see the Christmas Show at Radio City, a tradition she started when they were kids.

I would rent a limo and take them all in, then buy them lunch or dinner and we made the mandatory stop into Rockefeller Center to see the tree.

Mom’s gone and the kids are all grown but I love that memory.

I was there when my friend Holiday Express was a guest on NBC’s TV show The Lighting of the Tree, Britney Spears was the guest, she was very friendly and I sort of snuck into a director’s chair and saw the whole show, it was great. It was cold but great.

The history of the Rockefeller Christmas tree goes back to 1931 during the Great Depression when construction workers at Rockefeller Center put up a small Christmas tree and collected their paychecks at the tree because they were so grateful to be working.

The actual lighting ceremony began in 1933 and the mission of finding the perfect tree has taken the arborists to search throughout the tri-state area. It’s a search that goes on for months each year to find the perfect tree. I’d say they do a great job.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Delivered To NYC Ahead Of Holiday Season
Getty Images

Plans have started to move this year’s 80-foot Norway Spruce tree estimated to be between 80 and 85 years old and weighing in at a whopping 12 tons. The big tree will be cut down November 9th in Binghamton, New York, flatbed by truck to New York City, a 200-mile trip. The tree was donated by the McGinley family of Vestal, NY. It’s perfect, it’s big but it’s perfect.

The tree will then be decorated with over 50,000 lights and then a 900-pound Swarovski star will adorn the top of the tree that has 30 spikes that are covered in 3 million crystals! There are over 5 miles of wires that will be strung on this year’s tree.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Delivered To NYC Ahead Of Holiday Season
Getty Images

The tree will be lit on Wednesday, Nov. 29 in a live TV ceremony airing on NBC. After the holiday season, the tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity and used as lumber to build houses for those in need. A great full use of this majestic tree.

There’s something about Christmas in New York. The decorated storefronts with piped holiday music wafting through the crisp December air, the street Santa’s ringing their bells, the occasional smell of the street corner cart selling roasted chestnuts, which we never had.

Gruff New Yorkers seem to have a better attitude, people are in a better mood and when you show up at the majestic holiday-decorated Rockefeller Center complete with classical holiday music and then perfectly fully framed like a Christmas card you see the massive 80-foot decorated Christmas tree, it’s pretty hard not to get into the holiday spirit after seeing that, no matter how old you are. Merry Christmas!

25 Christmas songs performed by NJ artists

If you celebrate Christmas, the next month of your life is likely going to be consumed with shopping for gifts, retrieving a tree, decorating the house, and going out on adventures to see elaborate light displays.

The one thing that you must have at the ready for all of these scenarios is Christmas music.

Since a lot of the songs you hear tend to get repetitive this time of year, why not pay homage to some of the great singers, bands, and musicians that make New Jersey's music history so rich.

Want to take these songs on the go with you? Here's the Spotify playlist.

Gallery Credit: Joe Votruba

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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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