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York City pining for Christmas tree

Sean Philip Cotter
505-5437/@SPCotterYD
  • York City is searching for an official Christmas tree.
  • People wanting to volunteer their trees may call the city at (717) 845-935.

As the song says, it's Christmas time in the city.

Fine, it isn't, but that doesn't mean York City doesn't have to start looking for a large pine to sit in Continental Square this December.

A past Christmas tree makes its way into York City via flatbed truck.

The city is seeking people to offer up 30- to 35-foot-tall trees from which the city could choose its official Christmas tree, which would stand tall for a couple of months in the main square.

These trees come from people's yards, often — locals call up the city and say they have a suitable big pine, said Carol Godfrey, a clerk in the city's electrical bureau and building maintenance department who helps organize and direct the tree search.

Anyone who thinks they have such a tree may call her at (717) 845-9351.

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"We like to get 'em from as close to York City as possible," she said.

Godfrey said David Rudolph, the person in charge of the tree search, figures out which tree is the right one.

"He has a pretty good eye for them," she said of Rudolph, who is the city's superintendent of building maintenance and electrical services.

They look for a classic-looking pine tree, often a blue spruce. They look for it to be pretty symmetrical — "y'know, how nice and round they are," she said.

"It’s like one of those things that when you see it, you know it," Godfrey said.

The city figures out a time in November to cut it down, prop it up on a big flatbed truck just so, in order to smoosh as few branches as possible, and haul it downtown, she said. They put it up, as always, in the northeast corner of the square, with more than 2,000 LEDs draped over it.

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The lights come on Friday, Dec. 2, when the city flips the switch during a winter festival.

Godfrey said the city usually has a good amount of arboreal offerings from locals who think their tree just might be the one. They've already had a few, but they typically end up with a few dozen by the time they make their decision.

Sometimes, she said, it's not always easy for people to give up their big, beautiful trees.

One year, a woman "said she was a little leery of cutting it down, but then she decided it was time for it to go," Godfrey said.

— Reach Sean Cotter atscotter@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.