It was a very cold night in early December! Actually the eve of the famous Rockerfeller

Tree lighting. I worked for the Town of Harrison and my office was invited to a Christmas party at Rockefeller Center, in the purple lighted building below. Our party was located up behind one of those glass windows. We were closer to the stars than we were the Tree! I perched myself there even though I could not hear the music or make out the faces of the entertainers who were invited to sing after the Tree’s magical lighting.

Our party was catered by one of our hometown catering services, Powell Catering! The hors d’oeuvres were great and the drinks flowed fluently! But it seemed that a couple of waiters wondered what I found to be so interesting looking out the window?  Why wasn’t I attracted to the party in the room, but instead, centered my attention “out the window?” Well, I was looking at life down below in that frigid lovely setting. A place where so many walks of life gather to view the lighting of the Christmas tree since 1931. As I stood, amongst the canyons of time, whispers of yesterday came floating through my senses. I would be retiring soon and moving to Florida and I wanted to make the most of this particular night. This ‘Tree’ and this night was filled with emotions, for me.

Now, 2020, it isn’t so strange that I recalled this past event! A bittersweet memory! 

Eventually, the party people grew tired of Town talk and ventured over to ‘my’ window to witness the tree lighting. Even though people’s emotional attitudes differ, a Christmas party gathering certainly ties us all together.  Then, all the old stories begin! I remember when….!

Although a few years have passed since that particular Christmas gathering wistful yearnings always return to me. I am sure you have witnessed the famous ‘tree lighting’ via television or, perhaps, in person. What many of us do not think about is the Tree’s former life.

Yes, I’m guilty of nostalgia! This year, in particular, 2020 gives me more reason to think and feel about times past. This is my tribute and thanks for the part that all the players take to create the feelings of the season. Even though we can’t stand shoulder to shoulder around the Tree, we can still embrace our memories!  And, above all, cherish our beautiful memories.

The Christmas tree is the beginning of our nostalgia for yesterday. A definite tribute to each person’s traditions and beliefs. When we gather around the Christmas tree, we feel as though we are one.

“It’s not what’s under the tree that matters, it’s who’s around it.”   Charlie Brown

The Tree which made its debut eighty-nine years ago still holds an extraordinary power of influence over people from all walks of life! This Tree’s story began long before it entered NYC! It upholds its own history from where it was planted to its final destination, Rockefeller Center. Each Christmas tree has true meaning!

Each year the Tree is carefully chosen. And then we learn about the life of the ‘chosen Tree.’

The beauty below, a Norway Spruce, on the flatbed truck, is seventy-five years old! It thrived beautifully in Orange County, Florida, N.Y. It was a wee sapling in 1959 where it sat on the owner’s coffee table but, eventually, was transplanted to the front yard and remained there for sixty years! The owner thought her Tree would be so suitable for the Plaza; and that was 2010! Nine years later it was selected and made its grand entrance to New York City!  Life is a waiting game; even for a tree! My compliments to Nicole Saraniero, on her great article and photos were chosen for 2019 Rockefeller Tree!

Even the Spruce has wisdom! It reminds us to tap into our inner sources and never give up! Especially in 2020! The Spruce, quite resilient, beautiful, and strong. It’s true, not everyone who views the plaza Tree thinks about the history of it, or any other Christmas tree, but it must touch a deeper part of us, the place where memories are stored.

The ‘Tree’ is the beginning of our recollection of yesterday. A definite tribute to each person’s traditions and beliefs. Somehow, when we all gather around a Christmas tree, we feel as though we are one. Whether we stand around our own personal tree or the huge tree in Rockefeller Center; we are the circle of life. From our very young to our seasoned elders!    

This particular “tree” reigns true for millions during December and early January! It is far more than a centerpiece! The Christmas tree, no matter if it’s a Douglas Fir, Spruce or a Charlie Brown tree; all have special meaning. We, believers of tradition, will carry on. I, for one, find the tree of our season, healing! May the threads of our Christmas memories be with us all!

This will be the year, 2020, that will go down in history; all over the world!  But since we are resilient, we will fight, with every fiber of our being, to keep this “flu” caged and our families safe. We will celebrate our holidays, the best way we know and the Christmas tree will be a healing balm for all!

This year, the ‘Tree’ will bring us a new understanding of celebration. No matter our different Faiths, Cultures and Traditions, we will not allow anyone to cancel our beliefs! My deepest thanks to all who are decorating your homes, in and out, your Towns and your Trees! Keep your spirits high and Christmas alive! Keep Christmas alive all year!

Edna Ferber reminds us…”Christmas isn’t a season, it’s a feeling.”

Nancy Fraioli is a retired Benefits Asst. from Town/Village of Harrison, NY. She’s alive and well, residing in Sarasota with her daughter and family and enjoying the Floridian lifestyle daily.

Her passions are writing, reading books of philosophy, children’s stories and poetry. Her deep love is living, learning and sharing how faith, meditation, and music guide her daily life. And she loves to lunch with the ladies!

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