CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s official Christmas tree stands tall and bright every year over Millennium Park, welcoming people from around the world.
It also welcomes history and tradition. For the past 12 years, it’s been donated by families in the Chicago area. CBS 2’s Steven Graves gives us our first look at this year’s tree.READ MORE: Chicagoan David Kronfeld Shares Advice To Career Success In New Book
In Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, on a ordinary block, a family is letting go in a extra ordinary way. Their now toppled tree is bringing on big emotions.
“It’s something to cherish. It’s just a beautiful tree.”
A 50-foot tall blue spruce that the Benavides family watched grow in their front yard.
“A lot of times it gets so bad where I was afraid it might fall.”
Mom of two Noemi Benavides wrote the city to donate the tree for a chance to see it shine.
And now it will, brightly, as the official Christmas tree of Chicago at Millennium Park.READ MORE: At Least 24 People Wounded, 1 Killed In Weekend Shootings In Chicago
“It’s surreal. You apply for something. You think ‘hey, this will be a good idea’ and you never think it’ll happen,” Benavides said.
Longtime neighbors on Maplewood Street shared in the joy Friday morning. A tree they’ve seen so long is gone in hours, as crews cut and hoisted it onto a truck.
“This is Chicago. If you’re going to have a Christmas tree for Chicago, it should be from Chicago,” Benavides said.
When crews cut it, they counted the rings and found 46 of them, which indicate the tree’s age. The family here has seen it grow for 30 of those years. And they said Friday was like seeing a child off.
“People will know that it came from us and it’s nice,” Benavides said.
“It kind of hit me. You know, it was like ‘What did I do?’ You know, but now we can say ‘hey, this tree was a Christmas tree,'” Benavides said.
The Christmas tree is ready for its close ups now, but the Benavides family can only imagine when it’s the Christmas jewel of the city.MORE NEWS: 1 Person In Critical Condition, 8 Displaced After Fire In Aurora
This year’s tree lighting will be held on November 19 at 6:00 p.m. followed by fireworks and a special concert.
IT’S OFFICIAL: A Logan Square family’s tree is going to be Chicago’s Christmas tree at Millennium Park!
It’s 50ft tall & 46-years old‼️🎄
It’ll arrive next week with the lighting ceremony later this month! The city will plant 10 new trees in 2022.
— Steven Graves (@StevenGravesTV) November 5, 2021