U.S. NEWS
11/28/2018 10:10 pm ET Updated Dec 05, 2018

The Beautiful Story Of Shelby, This Year's Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

It's the first tree to be donated by a same-sex or Latina couple, who hope it will be admired by millions this holiday season.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was lit Wednesday evening, heralding the beginning of the holiday season with a tradition that stretches back 87 years. 

This year’s 72-foot Norway spruce, known affectionately as Shelby, is the first to be donated by a same-sex or Latina couple, according to The New York Times

Shirley Figueroa, one of the donors, grew up in the Bronx with “no trees on my block,” but now the 75-year-old spruce from her property in Wallkill, New York, will dazzle thousands.

“Now it’s not my tree, it’s the world’s tree; I’m so happy to be able to share her with everyone,” Figueroa said at Rockefeller Center on Saturday, per The Associated Press. “Millions of people will come to visit Shelby.”

As HuffPost previously reported, Rockefeller Center’s head gardener, Erik Pauze, first spotted Shelby about six years ago ― before Figueroa and her wife, Lisette Gutierrez, had even purchased the property the tree stood on. 

With a bit of persuasion, Figueroa was able to convince Gutierrez to give up the tree, which they both feel “has a female spirit.”

Shelby will remain on display at her new midtown home until Jan. 7, when she will be dismantled and be donated to Habitat for Humanity

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