Mayor's Christmas Tree
A century-old tradition, the Mayor's Christmas Tree at Hallmark Cards’ Crown Center is strung with more than 7,200 white lights and stands 100 feet tall—taller than the famous trees at the White House and Rockefeller Center. As tradition, a celebrity guest will join Kansas City's Mayor Sly James to light the tree. The lighting ceremony is held the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, Nov. 23).
After the holidays, the tree is cut into commemorative ornaments and sold to benefit the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, which assists the city’s less fortunate.
Visitor tip: Take in the sights and sounds of the holidays at Crown Center with a spin around the city’s only public outdoor ice skating rink (Nov. 2-March 10, 2013). Or head inside to tour Crayola Christmas Land, a wintry world of larger-than-life Crayola products for kids to climb and play on (Nov. 23-Dec. 31).
2012 Mayor's Christmas Tree FAQ
What is it?
The Mayor's Christmas Tree stands each year as a symbol of Kansas City's holiday charity, the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund.
Where is it?
The Mayor's Christmas Tree has stood proudly at Crown Center since 1973. Crown Center is the Midwest's premier office, residential, hotel, shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Its 85 acres surround the international headquarters of Hallmark Cards, Inc. in Kansas City, Mo.
How big is it?
100 feet, making it one of the nation's tallest Christmas trees. It's taller than both the White House Christmas Tree and the tree at Rockefeller Center in New York.
How is it decorated?
Very carefully! About 7,200 white lights and more than 1,200 beautiful ornaments cover the tree. There are about 47,000 more white lights throughout Crown Center Square.
Where does it come from?
The Douglas fir is donated by Cascade Timber Consulting, Inc. of Oregon. It weighs approximately 11,000 pounds. A Crown Center representative personally selects the tree from the company's private forests. In late October, lumberjacks cut the tree down and lower it by crane onto a custom-made trailer. In order for the tree to meet oversized load limits for interstate highways, the branches are pulled toward the trunk (some are cut off and reattached upon arrival.) The tree's 2,000-mile journey takes it through six states (Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri) before arriving at Crown Center.
When do the lights go on?
Kansas City Mayor Sly James along with a local or national celebrity flip the switch to light up the tree the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, Nov. 23).
What happens after Christmas?
The Mayor's Christmas Tree is shipped to a local lumber company to be recycled. The wood is milled into lumber and used to create Mayor's Christmas Tree ornaments, which are sold the following year. Proceeds benefit the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund. Commemorative ornaments have been created since 1981—and they've been produced from the wood of the previous year's tree since 1987. This year's ornament is a snowglobe theme and goes on sale for $12.50 at Crown Center Customer Service on the day after Thanksgiving. The ornament can be preordered prior to that date by calling 816-274-7251.
Where does my donation go?
The Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund has helped local residents for more than 90 years. Mayor Thomas Crittenton oversaw the erection of the first official city tree at City Hall in 1908. Then called the Mayor's Municipal Christmas Tree Fund, it benefited more than 8,000 needy children during Mayor Crittenton's term. The program has continued to grow through the years and the tree has called Crown Center home since 1973. While times have changed, the mission of the fund has always been to make the holiday season brighter for Kansas City's less fortunate, those who do not receive assistance from other community charities. The Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund assists more than 33,000 people every year. Donations are used to provide gifts to elderly shut-ins and hospital patients, food and clothing for the needy, parties for needy children and much more. Donation boxes are located throughout the Crown Center Shops.
How can I find out more?
Call the Crown Center Information Line at 816-274-8444.