Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Takes on New Life with Habitat for Humanity in New Year

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Monday, January 9th, 2017

For a future Habitat homeowner, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and spirit of the holiday season will continue into the new year. Celebrating a decade-long tradition, Tishman Speyer, the owner and manager of Rockefeller Center, is donating the 2016 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to Habitat for Humanity. The massive 94-foot-tall Norway spruce, the second largest tree to grace Rockefeller Plaza, will be taken down on January 7 and milled into lumber that will be used to help build a decent and affordable home in its home state of New York.

“We’re grateful to Tishman Speyer for donating the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to Habitat for Humanity the last 10 years. This act of generosity allows the joy of the holiday season to continue for many families even after all the decorations have been taken down,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.

Tishman Speyer first partnered with Habitat for Humanity in 2005 when employee volunteers framed houses for one week in Rockefeller Plaza to help families affected by Hurricane Katrina. The partnership expanded in 2007, the first year lumber from the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was donated to Habitat for Humanity.

Inspired by the annual tradition of donating the milled lumber of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, in 2011 author David Rubel collaborated with Habitat for Humanity, Random House and illustrator Jim LaMarche to create “The Carpenter’s Gift,” an uplifting holiday picture book set in Depression-era New York. Highlighting the timeless themes of charity and goodwill, “The Carpenter’s Gift” shows that the best gifts are the ones that are unexpected, and may well inspire readers to do some giving of their own.

Lumber from the 2015 tree was used as the beams and flooring in two homes by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh. The 2014 tree helped frame five homes in Philadelphia. Lumber from previous trees has been used in the construction of homes in Pascagoula, Mississippi; Stamford, Connecticut; Newburgh, New York; Morris, New Jersey; and New York City.