New York City may have officially unveiled the new Christmas Tree that is coming to Rockefeller Center, but that sapling from Albany pales in comparison to the magnificence that came from Killingworth!
I guess you can call me a Christmas Tree snob. It probably came with the territory of experiencing the rush of excitement when, back in 1999, 11-year-old me heard the news that the Rockefeller Christmas Tree was coming from my hometown. Killingworth is a super small and super humble place where not much happens. It’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong, but when something big happens – we make high mass out of it.
I remember the day officials came to cut the tree down. It was 1999, I was sitting in English class with Mrs. Mills and looking at the empty desks around the classroom, envying those who went to the Thompson’s to watch the iconic moment. A majority of kids were gone and those left behind spent the day hemming and hawing about why the school couldn’t have been bothered to make a field trip out of the event.
That year, probably every Killingworth resident went to New York City to ooh and aww over “our” tree. Chances are, we bragged about it to every stranger that mentioned the tree. Everyone had to know where it came from and how much it meant to us. If you get a hold of a random Killingworth resident’s photo album, chances are you’ll find plenty of photos of that damn tree sprawled across a page or two.
Oh, it’s just MY family that posed in front of that tree for an entire roll of film? Gotcha.
I can only compare to this intense swelling of pride to how the Polish felt when Pope John II was officially announced. I’m Polish, I make pierogi on Christmas Eve, so I’m speaking from experience on this one. Just like there will be no greater Pope in history, there will be no greater tree in NYC than the one from Killingworth.
Think of it like a scene from the movies where the loser becomes the cool kid for one day. We were famous! We saw ourselves as the heroes that saved Christmas and made it better. All eyes were on us and we soaked in the limelight, trying to make our 15 minutes of fame last any way we could.
I mean, Killingworth is an adorable town and part of its charm is that nothing really happens there. The biggest scandal was allowing a Dunkin’ Donuts/Basking Robbins hybrid to be built near The Copper Skillet, our neighborhood diner. We have no town green but we do have a gas station that sells groceries, deli meat, and lobsters. And now we have a Dunkin’. And Subway.
We also boast of having one of the nation’s most strangely named roads: Roast Meat Hill Road.
Okay, so we’re halfway there to being a fully functional town.
But we did give NYC the best dang Christmas tree it could have hoped for!
To this date, NY Daily News confirms that the Killingworth tree holds the record of being the tallest to ever grace Rockefeller Center. Standing at 100 feet tall, the tree is also viewed as one of the most beautiful.
Well, the last bit may be my bias talking.