I heard discouraging news on the radio this morning that the “Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree” had been felled and was on its way to Manhattan from Mount Olive, New Jersey. I never understood why we needed to cut down a real tree just to watch it die adorned with 45,000 lights in the Rockefeller Center public square. The additional bad news that, this season, the tree had actually “survived” the wrath of mother nature and Hurricane Sandy — only to be cut down days later by men with chainsaws — made me realize the whole thing is a false idol tradition that needs to end in the faux name of “celebrating” the birth of Baby Jesus with a dead tree.
The Christmas tree that will dominate New York’s Rockefeller Center survived the winds of Superstorm Sandy that left a path of destruction in a New Jersey town and even its donor without electricity for weeks. Joe Balku, 76, learned that the 80-foot Norway spruce had been chosen for the honor four weeks ago. Sandy hit two weeks later.
Balku watched the tree, which weighs 10 tons and is 50 feet in diameter, as it swayed in the backyard. “I kept going outside during the night. I lost two trees, an oak and an evergreen, but the big tree was tied up for its protection,” Balku said.
His electricity went out, but on the morning after the storm, the tree was still standing and his home did not sustain any damage.
Isn’t that just about the saddest thing you’ve ever read?
Here — we once had a beautiful and wondrous tree — that we couldn’t wait to cut down and kill and prop up in Rockefeller Center just to prove how neat we are to ourselves. It’s actually all a disgusting tradition that is incredibly selfish and silly.
Why can’t the Rockefeller Center tree be fake? Why not select and artist every year to create a tree from scratch? Celebrate the Arts! Don’t kill an 80-foot tree to make yourself feel better about the holidays!