Macy's Sets Up Its Christmas Tree

Walnut Room Christmas Tree at Macy's on State Street is a 104-year-old tradition

By Courtney Copenhagen
|  Thursday, Nov 3, 2011  |  Updated 5:57 PM CDT
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The Walnut Room Christmas Tree at Macy's on State Street is a 104-year-old tradition.

The Walnut Room Christmas Tree at Macy's on State Street is a 104-year-old tradition.

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Time Lapse: Macy's Christmas Tree Construction

Walnut Room Christmas Tree at Macy's on State Street is a 104-year-old tradition.
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There’s barely been enough time to put away the Halloween decorations, but at Macy’s on State Street, they are already getting geared up for Christmas.

Electricians, carpenters and decorators on Wednesday began the three-and-a-half day process of decorating the Christmas tree in the Walnut Room on the 7th floor.

"This is the exact same schedule that we’ve kept for the last 12 years. It takes us a period of time to get the building ready, and we try to get in and out before our customers are ready to do their shopping," said Macy’s Creative Director, Jon Jones.

But unlike your tree at home, the crews begin at the top of the 45-foot structure. The tree actually hangs from the ceiling and does not rest on the floor.

"We are directly over the Tiffany’s ceiling in the building, so we don’t want to add any additional weight. All the weight is suspended from the 10th floor. It’s a two ton chain motor that actually hangs the tree in place. We just touch the floor to keep it from spinning."

This year Macy’s is adding a little technology to the 104-year-old tradition with the addition of 15,000 LED lights.

"LED lighting is a new trick for us, because computer programmed and will actually be able to create patterns colors and different combinations on the surface of the tree," said Jones.

And so far, it’s been well received.

Pat Durward of Birmingham, Ala., has vacationed in Chicago during the first week of November for years, and always comes to watch the assembling of the tree. This year she noticed a change.

"It’s fascinating this year with the lights and how it’s catching and flickering," said Durward.

Gerry Roisman still has no power in Wethersfield, Conn., home following this weekend’s snow storm and is starting to become suspicious.

"I think that’s why we have no power left in Connecticut. It’s all here on this tree," he joked.

The official tree Macy’s lighting takes place this Saturday at noon with Bill and Giuliana Rancic.
 

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