NEW YORK -- Lumber from the 80-year-old Norway spruce that was the 2015 Christmas tree Rockefeller Center will be donated to Habitat for Humanity to be used in local building projects.

Once the Christmas trees come down after the holidays, the trunks are milled, treated and made into lumber. For nine years Tishman Speyer, the owner and operator of Rockefeller Center, has donated that lumber to be used in Habitat projects in places such as Pascagoula, Mississippi; New York City; Stamford, Connecticut; Newburgh, New York, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Chris Clarke, vice president of marketing and communications for the Atlanta-based Habitat for Humanity, told the AP wire service that "projects are selected close to where the annual tree grew, ensuring it’s re-used close to home."

The 2015 10-ton Christmas tree was from the front yard of a Gardiner, New York home.

The first time a Christmas tree appeared at Rockefeller Center was in 1931. Workers decorated a 20-foot-high balsam fir with garlands that were homemade by their families. But the popular annual tradition didn't start until 1933 when Rockefeller Center managment decided a tree would be the perfect way to celebrate the center.

An estimated 500,000 people visit Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree each day during the holiday season.

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