City Christmas Tree

City workers guide Lancaster city's Christmas tree for 2020 into place in Penn Square Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.

Lancaster city’s Christmas tree for 2020 got its start in an elementary school classroom.

Martha Tout was in third grade when she received the infant tree during Earth Day at Landisville Elementary school 30 years ago.

Tout, 37, of East Hempfield Township, said she took the tree home from school and planted it in a pot until it got too big, at which point she planted it next to her home.

When the city put out a call for anyone who would be willing to donate a tree in October, Tout put her name in.

“It was actually planted a little too close to the house and it was getting too big,” Tout said. “Rather than just get rid of it, at least it has good use.”

After an inspection, her 50-foot evergreen was chosen to stand in the city’s center this year.

“We knew that it was a nice tree that would work well,” she said. “I think, whenever it’s decorated, I’ll make a point to go down and look at it.”

By the time the tree arrived in the city on a trailer Tuesday morning, it had been cut down to stand at just under 40 feet.

The city is planning on starting to decorate the tree Wednesday by placing the star and getting electrical wiring set, said Ryan Hunter, facilities manager. The rest of the decorating will most likely start next week.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional tree lighting event will not be held this year.

Instead, at some unannounced point during the weekend of Dec. 4th, the tree will be lit, said Amber Strazzo, Lancaster city mayor’s communications manager. Pictures and video of the lightning will likely be shared on social media, but it will not be live-streamed, she said.

Other holiday events can be found at