…yes, we need a little Christmas now!
Ready or not, Christmas is here! Tonight, I went down to Macy’s at Union Square for the 21st Annual Tree Lighting. It was an evening in a winter wonderland. A great way to kick off the Christmas season!
First, let me tell you about the hustle and bustle. Black Friday in San Francisco is an unbelievable site. Imagine a city sidewalk lined with shops. Now think about putting as many people on that sidewalk as you can. Then add 300 additional people. I’m not kidding. There were traffic cops at every intersection because the people were clogging the roads. I learned very quickly that I had two choices in a crowd like that: keep moving or die.
Macy’s was beautifully decorated for the holiday. There was a twinkling wreath in every window, and a big tree out front. The store front windows contained beautiful displays similar to the windows in New York (so I’ve heard). This year, the display had live kittens playing on a Christmas set in a joint promotion with the local animal shelter. It was very cute. I walked by the windows at around 5:00 and couldn’t get close enough to see the cats because of all the people. I had to go back later when the crowd thinned.
Across the street from Macy’s is a park called Union Square. This park has palm trees with twinkle lights, an ice skating rink, and a big. giant. Christmas tree. According to The SF Examiner, the tree is 80 Feet tall, 30 Feet wide, and 20 Years old. It contains 1,500 Ornaments and it took 14 Days to assemble (read the full article).
The flyers for the Tree Lighting event said 6:00pm. I had this great idea that I would “beat the crowd” and show up at 5:30. Well, I wasn’t the only one with that idea. When I arrived, the area around the tree and in front of the stage was completely filled with people. So I had to stand at the outer edge of the park . The festivities began at 6:00. The UC Berkeley Men’s Octet performed, and Katharine McPhee was there (from American Idol)!! Santa stopped by to say hello, and the tree lighting was the grand finale. It was a lot of fun! (additional info)
After the tree lighting, I got hot chocolate, sat, and watched the shoppers.
Some tips if you’re thinking of attending the Tree Lighting next year: (a) Wear layers. It was pretty cold outside tonight, but when I got to the park and crammed in with all those people, I got hot. (b) Get there early. I couldn’t hear the music very well from where I was standing. (c) The tree doesn’t come on till 6:50pm. I was surrounded by people who thought they were gonna show up at 6, watch the tree, then leave and get dinner by 6:10. Well, that’s not the way it works. They have to make a big ta-do.
Here’s is a video of the Tree Lighting. After they turned on the lights, I turned around and filmed all the people taking pictures.