Christmas tree tradition at Oakland's Jack London Square

A 50-foot tall white fir went up at Jack London Square. Nov. 14, 2019

This year's tree Christmas tree in Jack London Square is a 55-foot tall White Fir, harvested from the slopes of Mount Burney, which is located about 60 miles east of Mt. Shasta.

"It's a lot of fun," said James Carlton of Carlton Christmas Tree Company. "We've been doing this tree every year (except one) since 1969."

 Carlton and his father started the Carlton Christmas Tree company decades ago. The first tree they ever sold was to the Port of Oakland for their Jack London Square Christmas tree ceremony, 50 years ago. Carlton was there again on Thursday, overseeing crews as they hoisted up the tree for what has become a joyous Oakland community tradition.

"This is very near and dear to my heart. This [location] is one of our favorites," Carlton said. His father died last year.

Carlton said the most difficult part of the process is cutting down the tree.

"The most delicate part is out in the woods," Carlton said. "Typically, it's high wind conditions. We're not working on flat ground but on the hillside in soil."

He explained that from harvesting the tree to delivery - the tree limbs never touch the ground. "There's a lot of tender loving care," Carlton said.  "We can never lay it down, because that would break the branches and ruin the tree. From start to finish, it never touches or lays on the ground."

Carlton Christmas Trees delivers trees all over the country. In the next few weeks, they'll start to deliver Christmas trees to locations in Sacramento, Los Angeles and to Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek.

The tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 22.  Festivities, which include music, food, entertainment and crafts, are open and free to the public.  The event will also showcase local nonprofit groups. 

Visitors drop by the Christmas tree at Jack London Square. December 2018

The tree-lighting ceremony will take place Nov. 22 where visitors can enjoy music and entertainment, arts groups, and holiday pop-up shops.