Thanksgiving is still almost three weeks away, but that didn't stop the Rockefeller Center team from diving right into the holiday season on Saturday with the annual raising of the world's most famous Christmas Tree. This year's arboreal sacrifice arrived in front of 30 Rock from the village of Florida, New York, and it's a doozy: 77 feet tall, 46 feet wide once all the branches settle again, and 12 tons of strapping Norway Spruce.

Carol Schultz, a long-time Florida (NY) resident had planted the beauty as a sapling in 1959, and agreed to share it with the world in the spirit of Christmas. The huge formerly-living creature was driven in overnight on the back of 115-foot-long trailer, then lifted, untrussed (this part took the longest at Saturday's event), and "put up" by a large, capable crew of workers and engineers, with the help of a massive crane.

Scott Lynch / Gothamist

The process (see last year's timelapse here) began around 7:30 in the morning, which, along with temps in the high-20s and very little pre-publicity, kept the crowds of spectators to a minimum. In addition to just enjoying the simple pleasure of the process, these tree guys are total pros, scampering around and inside the tree branches with ease. Other highlights of the morning included watching Schultz and her four sons and one grandson drive the spike into the tree's base, and cadging a pinecone or errant sprig from the grounds to bring home.

By 11 a.m., the mighty spruce was hoisted and fixed firmly in place, where it'll now get decked out in 50,000 multi-colored LED bulbs for its next show, the huge, three-hour lighting ceremony extravaganza on Wednesday, December 4th.