Back Off, COVID Grinch. Chicago Has an Official Christmas Tree

The 45-foot blue spruce will be on display Nov. 20-Jan. 7. (Courtesy City of Chicago)The 45-foot blue spruce will be on display Nov. 20-Jan. 7. (Courtesy City of Chicago)

The holidays are shaping up to be quite different in 2020, but Chicago is still officially putting on a festive face. 

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On Friday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the selection of the city’s annual Christmas tree, a 45-foot blue spruce that hails from the Morgan Park neighborhood. The tree is being donated by the family of Catherine Townsend, an 85-year-old retired Chicago Public Schools teacher.

“Gardening has always been my mother’s favorite hobby,” Townsend’s daughter Sherri Mitchell said in a statement. “Neighbors always complimented her on her flowers and her yard’s beautiful landscaping, not the least of which were our towering Spruce trees.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city will skip an in-person tree lighting ceremony, encouraging people instead to tune in to a virtual program Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. The program, featuring pre-recorded musical performances, will be available via the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’ YouTube channel.

The tree will light up Millennium Park from Nov. 20 to Jan. 7, near the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Washington Street. The park is currently open daily, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Another holiday tradition, ice skating, is also getting a shakeup due to the pandemic. Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink will be closed for the season, but the Ice Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park will open Nov. 20. Reservations and masks will be required to skate. 

Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 |  [email protected]


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