Since the early days of history, the Evergreen tree has always been a symbol of life. Therefore, bringing greenery into your home during the winter is a sign of life when death is near.

The history of the Evergreen tree being decorated and used to celebrate Christmas originiated in Germany in 1521, but the tree did not have lights back then. The first mention of a decorated Christmas tree with candles was first noted in the 17th century, and the first retail Christmas tree stand was set up in New York City in 1851.

Of course, when I think of New York City during the holidays, the first thing that comes to mind is the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree! The tradition officially began in 1933, which is the same year that 30 Rockefeller Center opened, but the very first tree was erected on the site by construction workers in 1931.

Almost 80 years later, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree continues to be one of the biggest attractions in New York City. The lighting of the tree usually occurs during the last week of November with a televised special on NBC, and the tree stays up until a week after New Year's Day.

The 2011 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is a Norway Spruce that was cut down in Mifflinville, PA and stands 74 feet high.

~Keith Kelly