Every year the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree dazzles spectators through early January, at which point it’s cut into pieces and toted away. But what happens to the wood once it’s removed? The New York Post followed last year’s tree to discover that it became beams for Habitat for Humanity houses in upstate New York, in particular, critical reinforcement for a home that now houses a single father and his three children.
Last year wasn’t the first year that the beloved—and massive—Christmas tree took on a second life. Tishman Speyer, who owns and operates Rockefeller Center, has been partnering with Habitat for Humanity for nearly a decade to mill the towering trees into lumber for the nonprofit’s nearby projects.
Each year the process goes a little something like this: the tree arrives at Rockefeller Center in mid-November, where it delights spectators through early January. (Visitors take note: this year’s tree departs on January 7.) It’s then cut into transportable pieces in the plaza, taken to New Jersey where it’s roughly sawed, dried in a kiln, and then milled into beams.
The lumber from last year’s Christmas tree helped with the rehab of two upstate homes. “Knowing that our walls contain the lumber from the Rockefeller tree will make the season even more special,” the single father of three told the Post. Now that’s a sweet story.