People Need To Stop Body Shaming the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Now

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The new Rockefeller Christmas tree is under tabloid like scrutiny this year.

First there was the scandal of the squatting owl. “The celebrity owl that hitched a ride to New York City in the branches of an upstate Christmas tree is almost ready to fly the coop,” reports the New York Daily News. “Rockefeller, named for the famed Midtown plaza that is the annual home of the iconic colorful spruce, is being nursed back to health after workers found the owl Monday while unwrapping the 72-foot Norway spruce.”

“I just want to make sure he’s well-fed before he goes,” wildlife center director Ellen Kalish told the Kingston Daily Freeman. “He was a little on the thin side when he came in. He probably hadn’t eaten in a number of days. So I just want to make sure that he’s at his best weight and health, and then he goes.”

Then there’s been the “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” epithet, basically saying that it’s ugly. Wired said, “For those who haven’t heard, Rockefeller Center put up its traditional yuletide tree this week, and, well, it looked busted. Slightly bare, branches askew, missing the zhuzh normally found in your typical Rockefeller tree. It was a spruce in need of sprucing. Unsurprisingly, as soon as it was unveiled, social media couldn’t help but comment on its sad state. People made Charlie Brown jokes, evoked National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. One user, rightly, pointed out that it looked like it gave itself a haircut. It was, the collective decided, a 75-foot, 11-ton stack of wood and needles worthy of this year of interminable hell.

But there’s something else about the tree that feels familiar. Sure, a lot of folks look, or at least feel, as disheveled as that tree. Yet, it also serves as a reminder that things can be improved. As the week wore on, the tree continued to come together. A blogpurporting to be written by the evergreen itself promised, “In total New York fashion, I’ll be having some work done … I’m currently under construction.” It got its 900-pound Swarovski star placed on top. And workers found a magical-looking tiny owl hiding in it! (OK, but seriously, that owl should probably be returned to Oneonta.) The official Rockefeller Center Twitter account also decided to return some of the snark, posting this on the timeline: “Wow, you all must look great right after a two-day drive, huh? Just wait until I get my lights on.”

That tree may embody the state of the world right now, but it also lost its life to bring people joy. One day, it’ll be lit up, and it’ll probably look pretty nice. One day, folks might start getting the Covid-19 vaccine Dolly Parton helped fund, and maybe we’ll start looking nice again too. And one day, just before the Rockefeller Center tree comes down, 2020 will be over.

Legendary fashion PR impresario Hal Rubenstein probably said it best on Facebook: Note to all of you so eager to trash this year’s Rockefeller Center tree:
1.There is nothing wrong with the tree.
2. If you were tied up in ropes for two weeks – unless this is something that you get off on – what do you think your body would look like initially when the ropes came off?
3. I worked across the street from Rockefeller center for 20 years. Virtually every tree started out looking just Iike this. 
4. Why do you think there is all that scaffolding set up around the tree for weeks before its debut? To string lights ? You can do that with a crane. Hint – what you are prematurely passing judgment on is a muslin version of a couture gown
5. The scaffolding is there so that the tree can be shaped, so that branches can be grafted from one area to another and to have additional branches added on.
6. What is being done to the tree right now is exactly the same as all the retouching that is and computer magic afforded a celebrity cover of magazine cover before it’s released to the public. Even Jennifer Aniston has admitted that she doesn’t look like the Jennifer Aniston on the cover of Vogue or InStyle
7. Once the scaffolding is removed, what you will see is a perfect version of a Christmas tree that exists virtually nowhere in nature. The Rockefeller center tree is no different than any stage set
8. Yes, 2020 did suck and will suck straight through to New Year’s Eve. That said, between now and December 2, when the tree is lit why not use your tongue to enjoy the Thanksgiving feast you’re about to have and to offer thanks and gratitude that you are still around to breathe and complain and enjoy the glorious tradition of a wonderful tree celebrating the season in the middle of what is still the greatest city in the world

Note to all of you so eager to trash this year’s Rockefeller Center tree:
1.There is nothing wrong with the tree.
2. If…

Posted by Hal Rubenstein on Saturday, November 21, 2020

The tree will be lit in a televised ceremony Dec. 2, but unlike years past, no live spectators will be admitted to Rockefeller Center when the switch is flipped.