For more than eight decades, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has been emblematic of the holiday season, visited by millions of people in the heart of America’s largest city.
Two years ago, the tree keepers unveiled a new nine-foot star atop the the 72-foot-tall Christmas tree, featuring 3 million Swarovski crystals. And in 1999, the tree stood at 100 feet.
But this year, oh boy, this year.
It’s 2020, whose motto must be “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” It is, after all, the year of the pandemic, of lockdowns, of masks and, of course, of murder hornets.
This year, tree keepers picked a giant Norway spruce in Oneonta, New York, to erect in Midtown Manhattan. The 75-foot tree arrived on Saturday with a police escort and was lifted into position by crane.
But as with everything in 2020, the tree was a huge disappointment, and while the tree won’t be decorated and lit up until next month, social media users lit it up in a slew of hilarious posts.
“Could the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree look any worse? 2020 on brand,” former NBA player Rex Chapman told his one million followers on Twitter.
Could the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree look any worse?
2020on brand… pic.twitter.com/6K2n4bX9u7
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) November 17, 2020
As the video shows, when the workers took the protective wrapping off the tree, the branches fell into place and, well, looked terrible — sparse and oddly disheveled.
“What is this, a joke? This is the Rockefeller Christmas tree for 2020. It depicts @NYCMayor’s city as it stands today: broken, empty, drained of its life, by failed leadership and incompetence,” wrote former New York Police Department Chief Bernard Kerik.
What is this, a joke? This is the Rockefeller Christmas tree for 2020. It depicts @NYCMayor‘s city as it stands today: broken, empty, drained of its life, by failed leadership and incompetence. pic.twitter.com/1S0qyIbmE1
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) November 18, 2020
Improv comic Emily Brandwin jumped into to compare the tree to the sad little nub beloved by Charlie Brown.
“Charlie Brown: I have the saddest Christmas Tree. Rockefeller Center: Hold my beer,” she wrote on Twitter.
The tree looked pretty good in its natural habitat, which was in a homeowner’s yard right next to their house.
“Say hello to the 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree! Hailing from Oneonta, NY, this Norway Spruce will arrive at Rockefeller Center this Saturday, November 14 to kick off the holiday season,” the center said in a Twitter post.
Say hello to the 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree! Hailing from Oneonta, NY, this Norway Spruce will arrive at Rockefeller Center this Saturday, November 14 to kick off the holiday season.
How tall do you think this year’s tree is? pic.twitter.com/UMmxiY3toV
— Rockefeller Center (@rockcenternyc) November 11, 2020
In another post, you can see just how tall and seemingly perfect the tree is.
See you soon, NYC! 🎄 pic.twitter.com/j5k6vYJGvS
— Rockefeller Center (@rockcenternyc) November 12, 2020
But 2020 wrecks everything.
“The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree does not look like it had a particularly good 2020,” wrote one Twitterer.
“The Rockefeller Christmas tree, just like the rest of us, really been through things in 2020,“ wrote yet another. “I know it’s 2020 and everything is terrible but the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree should be a lot fuller,” wrote one more.
But another Twitter user said the tree just hadn’t had time to regain its shape after being wrapped and transported.
“Ahh, a bit premature… it just got unwrapped and hasn’t had a chance to regain it’s form. Obviously you’ve never hiked into the woods to cut a tree down for your home,” the poster wrote.
Ahh, a bit premature…it just got unwrapped and hasn't had a chance to regain it's form. Obviously you've never hiked into the woods to cut a tree down for your home.
— RonM (@newPrez2021) November 17, 2020