The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree

by Jill Weber

Hardcover(Large Type)

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The Christmas Tree is a book about growth, learning to love, and, finally, being able to share the love with others, allowing it to be reborn, remembered, and cherished forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679442530
Publisher: Random House Large Print
Publication date: 10/08/1996
Edition description: Large Type
Pages: 118
Product dimensions: 5.08(w) x 7.16(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Julie Salamon is an award-winning author and journalist. She has been a reporter and film critic for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times , and her work has appeared in the New Yorker , Vanity Fair , Vogue , and Harper’s Bazaar , among other publications. Her books include Wendy and the Lost Boys , a biography of playwright Wendy Wasserstein; The Devil’s Candy , a behind-the-scenes account of the 1980s box-office flop Bonfire of the Vanities ; and, with illustrator Jill Weber, the New York Times bestseller The Christmas Tree , as well as two middle-grade novels, Mutt’s Promise an d Cat in the City. Salamon is also chair of the Bowery Residents’ Committee, a community organization that provides support for individuals who are homeless and struggling with addiction or mental illness in New York City.
Jill Weber is an artist, illustrator, and freelance designer. She has collaborated with author Julie Salamon on the New York Times bestseller The Christmas Tree and the middle-grade novels Cat in the City and Mutt’s Promise. Her other illustrated books include Christmas Tree Farm by Ann Purmell, a Junior Library Guild Selection and New York Times Christmas pick; Higher: A Rosh Hashanah Story by Eric A. Kimmel, winner of an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award; and The Story of Hanukkah by David A. Adler, a New York Times holiday pick.

Read an Excerpt

The Christmas Tree: Prologue

I'm not a sentimental man, but when I saw her standing there, under the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, I started to cry.

She was not a young woman; in fact, she was fairly old. But her eyes stayed fixed on the star at the top of the tree with the curiosity and amazement of a child who has just discovered something new and wonderful. With her bright, bony face barely poking out of her black habit she looked like a little bird next to that giant tree. Only later would I understand exactly what lay behind the sparkle in her eyes, what it all meant to her.

Her name was Sister Anthony, and she was a friend of mine.

An unlikely friend, I suppose. I'm still not sure she ever knew what she did for me. But that's how it goes, I guess. You're touched by something or someone here and react to it over there and most times you don't connect one thing to the other. With Sister Anthony I knew, and I am grateful for that.

Forgive me. I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you who I am and how I found myself in tears at an event that had become routine for me long ago.

I am the chief gardener at Rockefeller Center, though I think of myself as a magician of sorts. It's up to me to conjure up a Christmas tree every year—a tree so grand, so impressive—so magical—that it can stop New Yorkers in their tracks. If you've ever seen people flying around Manhattan, especially at Christmas, you can appreciate why I always get a little nervous this time of year.

It's enough to make you dread the season. We've had so many perfect trees perfection has become the norm. When you get 100 out of 100 every year youget no praise for getting 100 again, only complaints if you don't.

What is perfection?

It's hard to describe exactly what makes the perfect Christmas tree. The physical requirements are straightforward enough. The tree must stand tall and straight. Its branches must be thick and graceful, and they must point upward, giving the impression that they are reaching to the sky. They also have to be flexible, since they are tied down during the long journey to New York City.

But the trees that are finally selected need something more than height, thickness and suppleness—even more than mere beauty. And that's where I come in. I'm not an exceptional fellow in most ways, but I do have this gift. I can see if a tree has character, a spirit that outshines the ornaments and tinsel and lights—if its beauty comes from the inside and not just the outside.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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