Dartmouth Gets in the Holiday Spirit With Tree-Lighting Ceremony


The Lone Pine, a tree that towered over campus until 1895, has long been a symbol of Dartmouth. This month, there is a new tree overlooking the Green, though technically speaking, it’s not a pine, but a spruce.

Carolers singing in front of the tree on the green

The ceremony will feature carolers and complimentary hot chocolate and cookies. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

The spruce, which stands about 30 feet tall, is Dartmouth’s Christmas tree. This Friday, December 6, the Green will be illuminated during the annual tree-lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. The ceremony will feature Christmas carols sung by members of the Christmas Revels and the Revels Youth Ensemble, and there will be complimentary hot chocolate and cookies. The event, free and open to the public, will take place rain or shine.

The tree comes to Hanover from D’Aiello’s Vermont Tree Farms in Canaan, Vt., in the Northeast Kingdom. At the end of November, Dartmouth’s Facilities Operations & Management team used a construction crane known as a “cherry picker” to wrap the tree with hundreds of LED lights, which are more energy efficient than traditional incandescent Christmas lights.

Putting a Christmas tree on the Green is a Dartmouth tradition that dates back to at least 1940, according to an article that year inThe Dartmouth. The student newspaper noted that the tree, a 30-foot tall fir brought in from Enfield, N.H., featured 600 colored lights, which were powered by an electrical cord that ran to Robinson Hall. The lights this year are plugged into an underground electrical line in the center of the Green.

Students walk by the 1940 Christmas tree on the Green

Students walk by the 1940 Christmas tree on the Green. (Courtesy of Rauner Special Collections Library)

The tree lighting is timed to take place on the same evening as the Hanover Chamber of Commerce’s “Celebrate the Season” holiday event, which features activities, performances, and shopping specials throughout town from 4 to 8 p.m.

Keith Chapman