The Tradition of Crane Christmas Trees

The holiday season is full of sparkling lights and towering trees. In fact, you’ve probably noticed trees on top of construction cranes throughout the year. Christmas trees and construction cranes have a lot of history. If you have glanced up at a crane and you have thought Christmas tree teetering off the edge, you are not mistaken. Many construction cranes are topped with Christmas trees and some are even decorated with lights.The Tradition of Construction Christmas Trees


If you notice a bare evergreen Christmas tree on a construction crane, that tree is likely going to be set on top of the building the crane is working on. This is an ancient tradition in the world of construction, similar to laying a stone foundation, ribbon-cutting, and signing beams. Most believe that the concept started in Scandinavia while others believe it started in 2700 BC in Egypt. Regardless, it has been a long-standing tradition for centuries. Although most construction companies use trees now, it wasn’t always the item of choice. Centuries ago, builders used to put grain on the top.

The evergreen tree does not distinguish if a building is being started or finished; it is placed on the building when the highest point of the structure is raised. This tradition is referred to as the “topping out ceremony.” Some people believe that the tree is meant to symbolize the concept of the building being “everlasting” and other believe that is just a genuine superstition.

This simple ceremony concept has withstood the test of time. A bare Christmas tree is still the go-to item for construction sites in the United States. Other countries also have this tradition, such as northern Europe. In Hong Kong, however, they roast a pig which is more of a Chinese tradition that they do that beginning of construction. Each country has their own method of celebrating crane construction.

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