The 79-foot stunner is the first from Maryland to receive the honor.


While many start celebrating the holidays the moment November rolls around, for some, the season doesn't officially kick off until the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit. 

This year, Southerners have a little something extra to cheer for because for the first time in the tradition's 90-year history, the selected tree is from Maryland. Since the first tannenbaum was put on display as a Depression-era pick-me-up in December of 1931, trees have typically hailed from New York, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey. But not this year! 

A family in Elkton, Maryland—a small town about an hour and a half north of Baltimore—is donating their 79-foot Norway Spruce to hold the post as 2021's Rockefeller Center star. Since the family found out about its selection, local authorities have been keeping guard to make sure nothing happens to the VIP before its big journey north for the season. 

The spruce, which was pared down earlier this week, is set to be cut down on Nov. 11. From there, it will make the 140-mile trip to the heart of New York City, where it will reside above the center's iconic skating rink for the remainder of the season. We're hoping no critters make the trip alongside the tree like the one that did last year!

After its delivery via flatbed truck, the real fun begins. The 85-year-old tree will spend a couple weeks getting gussied up for its big debut. Planned trimmings include five miles of lights—or more than 50,000 multi-colored LED bulbs—as well as a three-dimensional Swarovski star covered in three million crystals and weighing in at 900 pounds. 

The fully decorated tree will be lit on Dec. 1 during the Christmas in Rockefeller live special airing on NBC at 8 p.m. EST. From then on, it will remain lit from 6 a.m. to midnight every day leading up until Christmas, when it will be lit for 24 hours straight. 

At the completion of the season, the 12-ton tree will be milled and donated to Habitat for Humanity to build homes for those in need. Talk about a symbol of hope for the holidays!