CHICAGO — A 45-foot Blue Spruce in a Morgan Park neighborhood yard has been chosen as the city’s official Christmas Tree.
The tree, donated 85-year-old retired public school teacher Catherine Townsend, will be decorated and displayed in Millennium Park as part of Chicago’s 107th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
“Gardening has always been my mother’s favorite hobby,” Townsend’s daughter, Sherri Mitchell, said. “Neighbors always complimented her on her flowers and her yard’s beautiful landscaping, not the least of which were our towering Spruce trees.”
This year’s tree-lighting ceremony won’t draw a crowd due to coronavirus precautions, but city officials will celebrate with a virtual holiday program broadcast on YouTube at 6:30 p.m. on November 19. The online ceremony is set to include holiday greeting from Mayor Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshleman, special acknowledgements of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and music performances recorded at the Epiphany Center for the Arts featuring the Chicago Children’s Choir, Sones de México Ensemble and Percy Bady and friends – with a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.”
“We are extremely excited to be continuing our city’s beloved winter traditions this season in a safe and healthy way,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “Despite the historic challenges presented throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been unceasing in finding workable solutions at every turn that support our families, protect our communities, and unite us during this unprecedented moment.”