Celebrate, It's What we do
This year’s Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center is one of the biggest to date, measuring 94 feet tall, 56 feet wide and weighing about 30,000 pounds. Since 2004, the tree has been crowned by a 550 - pound star composed of 25,000 Swarovski crystals. In 1998, visitors encountered a tree that had travelled from Ohio on the world’s largest transport plane.
As designers of people’s homes, we at DanielHouse are fascinated by the need within individuals to decorate the spaces they occupy. Why do we do it? Is it to “Keep Up Appearances” like the famous Hyacinth Bucket? Or is it just to improve their own daily comfort? These seem like plausible answers, but they aren’t totally satisfactory. We think a more conclusive answer lies the impetus for such civic symbols of seeming frivolity as Rockefeller’s huge tree.
The tree was not always so spectacular. Dana Schultz, a New York writer and preservationist, recently wrote a piece about its humble origins. She explained that although Rockefeller Center was not opened until 1933, its construction workers decorated a tree there as early as Christmas Eve, 1931. That was the height of the great depression, and undoubtedly those men were scrimping and saving every last penny. Still, they pooled their allowances to pay for a 20 - foot tall fir tree and turned to their families for help decorating it with handmade paper garland and tin cans. This was not a keeping up with the Joneses sort of effort. It could only have been born of a need rooted deep within human beings to celebrate.
We often use the words celebrate and observe interchangeably when talking about holidays. But one really seems quite a bit more passive than the other, doesn’t it? When we think of observing, we imagine ourselves looking in on a scene in which are not really involved, like someone might feel if they had their home assembled by a complete stranger. Alternatively, when we think of celebrating, we imagine ourselves playing an active role, as the men, women and children who put together that first big tree at Rockefeller must have felt. The scene they created all those years ago has grown into a large commercial enterprise, yet people remain intimately attached. Every year 125 million people see the tree in person. Millions more see it lit up on television as crowds sing “Joy to The World” in the background.
Our country is made up of so many places and events we can feel a part of without ever beholding them for ourselves. They are symbols of the exuberance and solemnity that has poured out of our citizens in celebration of any number of great things. We thought we might commemorate these symbols with a new print series collection including: “New York At Christmas, “The Chicago World’s Fair,” “LAX,” and “Pacific Wonderland.”