A day-after-Thanksgiving tradition returned about two-and-a-half weeks early this year, as the Macy’s Great Tree was unexpectedly lit up Wednesday night, and organizers insist there is “no official tree lighting ceremony this year.”
One of SFist’s favorite holiday traditions is the lighting of the big holiday tree in Union Square, whose technical name is the Macy’s Great Tree. The tree is traditionally lit with a big countdown on the day after Thanksgiving. But apparently, it was lit Wednesday night? It was, as NBC Bay Area reports the Macy’s holiday tree was lit Wednesday night, and since you didn't get to see it, there is at least video below.
With the flip of a switch at the Macy's 33rd Annual Tree Lighting ceremony, the holiday season brilliantly and beautifully announced its arrival in San Francisco. https://t.co/u3JUsXEShb pic.twitter.com/BODCLAryFp— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) November 10, 2022
But what gives with this lighting the tree so early? “This year, Macy's will not be holding an actual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Event,” according to the official Union Square website. “As usual Macy's will be gifting to the City of San Francisco, the Great Tree - however, there will be no Tree Lighting Event this year.”
So this may be a COVID-19 thing, but damn, November 9 is still early to be lighting that tree. In 2021, when there was also understandably no official ceremony, the lighting was on November 19. In 2020 (again, no official ceremony), it was November 18. In the normal years prior, it was always the day after Thanksgiving, a.k.a. Black Friday, to kick off the holiday shopping season.
Still, Mayor Breed was there Wednesday night, and of course urged people to go shopping. “Not just the pandemic, but also online shopping, and there’s nothing like being able to go into a store and look around and enjoy the space and purchase something over the counter,” Breed said Wednesday, per NBC By Area.
And also per NBC Bay Area, “maybe some people can enjoy the tree a little bit more when they find out that it is a reusable tree and the lights are all low energy LED.”
The tree will remain lit through January 1, 2023.
Image: Union Square Shop