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Clinton Square Christmas Tree Will Light Up Your Syracuse Holiday

Clinton Square Christmas Tree Will Light Up Your Syracuse Holiday
 The City Christmas tree is a staple of a Syracuse Holiday celebration, and we wondered: How do they get those amazing trees?

Now that it’s beginning to look like Christmas in Syracuse, we decided to find out all about the tree. Lights are up, gift sales are in full effect, and people are looking forward to spending the holiday with their family and friends. Clinton Square is preparing for the Syracuse holiday season with the selection of the Clinton Square Christmas tree.

syracuse holiday

How they pick the tree

Every year around Syracuse holiday time, there is a big spectacle, which is a huge beautiful Christmas tree. The tree is located in Clinton Square, and there are so many people who attend the lighting ceremony to enjoy their Syracuse holiday.

How was the tree chosen and what is the meaning of the event?

We interviewed Marybeth Roache, who is the Deputy Commissioner of the Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Programs. She gave us the answer to these questions.

This year’s Christmas tree was chosen by late October, and Roache discussed the process of how they pick the tree. Every September the Department of Parks & Recreation  puts out a press release and requests that people call them if they have a suitable tree.

They use Google Earth to take a look at the candidate trees, or their tree crew goes to the site to make sure the tree works and they can get to the tree. However, this year, none of the trees that people called in about were suitable. Moreover, some of them were in locations of their yard that the crew was not able to access.

Luckily, the tree selection department found a tree that they thought was perfect at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. They asked the administration if they would be willing to donate the tree as the Christmas tree, and they said yes.

The department then worked with JPW Erectors, and they transported it down to Clinton Square on Friday November 3rd.

According to the Roache, “The day that it’s brought down, it’s put in place in Clinton Square and the city electricians will spend the next weeks trimming the tree, and they’re putting the stringers on for lighting the tree.” There are at least 10,000 lights on the tree. Because of the help from the JPW Erectors and because the tree was donated, the department saved $12,000.

So what Christmas tree is ideal?

“We look for a Norway spruce that has to be about 50 feet and has to be in the front yard of the property we get it from and free from utility wires,” said Roache.

Norway Spruce is always the most popular tree choice for Christmas. Due to its hardiness and adaptability, it’s used around the world. It has a nice bushy dark green foliage with robust texture and can be very thick and full in full sun. It has a classic rich , fresh Christmas fragrance and great shape. A Syracuse holiday would not be complete without the iconic, decorated Norway Spruce tree in Clinton Square.

“The Norway spruce species is ideal because it is a tree that can grow to be that high. The branches of the Norway spruce tend not to break as easily when we put it on the flatbed to go to Clinton Square,” said Roache.

Significance to the Syracuse holiday

Why is an annual Christmas tree installation important? Marybeth Roche, the deputy commissioner said that it is a great time to bring the city together again to enjoy the Syracuse holiday season.

“It’s an opportunity for families to come down to celebrate and usher in the holidays,” Roache said. She also mentioned that many residents living in suburb or surrounding areas may not visit the city’s downtown area quite often in a year. However, the ceremony invites everyone in the city to celebrate the Syracuse holiday season.

“It spans decades, generations. Being downtown, it’s more a community event. “ Marybeth added. During the holiday season, the shops and museum downtown will remain open to customers, as will the famous ice rink which has decorated to be a beautiful setting, ideal for many people’s pictures. Starting in the 1900’s, the ceremony has been around since World War II with history expanded over 100 years.

syracuse holiday

The grand opening

The Christmas Tree Lighting event was held on November 24 at 6:30 pm in the city’s Clinton Square to kick off the Syracuse holiday season. The Syracuse-based R&B/Soul band named “Black Lites” gave a performance at the lightning event.

Syracuse is known for its frigid winter temperatures and snow, but the sense of hospitality here is anything but. Here you’ll find lots of people enjoying the Syracuse holiday cheer. Make sure you check out the popular restaurants in nearby Armory Square, like this popular hangout spot.

In addition, if you’re a prospective college student, Syracuse University is just a five minute drive away from Clinton Square. Make sure you check out the school and its beautiful campus during the winter time.

Also, Syracuse’s climate seems to have been made for winter recreation. Burn off some of that delicious food by hitting the slopes at some of the popular skiing destinations nearby.

Roache confirmed the tree is up until January, which means there is still abundant time to view it in person. Don’t miss your chance to see the beautiful holiday symbol in downtown Syracuse and enjoy the Syracuse holiday vibe.

Clinton Square Christmas Tree, photo taken by Yanting Zhao

About The Author


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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