Cranes usually aren’t one of the first things people think about when they hear the word Christmas. But in reality, the two have a long and storied past. And many of our most iconic seasonal scenes wouldn’t exist without this equipment’s substantial lifting power.
In the spirit of the festive season, here are five fantastic facts that you didn’t know about cranes and Christmas.
1 – Doubling up as decorations
Did you know that a crane can substitute for a Christmas tree?
Well, it can. A trend has really taken off where construction companies and crane rental companies take time and effort to transform these tall towers.
The tradition has become so well established in some regions that almost all the cranes are lit up. No construction team or rental company wants to be the odd one out.
But decorating a crane for Christmas is no mean feat. Generally, it can be quite costly with some makeovers of gigantic cranes costing up to $10,000. No expense is spared.
Plus, the process can be quite a challenge. A crew of decorators is needed to deck one crane in holly and string lights.
2 – The Christmas battle
Some people take their crane decorations seriously, so seriously that they are ready to take it to the bank.
In Seattle, construction and rental companies have even held decoration contests. The public could vote for their favorite Christmas-y crane.
That’s undoubtedly a step up from your neighborhood’s lighting rivalry.
3 – Famous Christmas trees
Have you ever wondered how they put up those magnificent 70 feet tall Christmas trees?
The answer is cranes, of course! Plus a team of skilled and experienced operators.
For example, it can take a crew of ten people and a crane to put up one of those famous Rockefeller Centre trees. These monsters are usually Norway spruces that have been put on display since 1931. They can weigh as much as 36,000 pounds.
Typically, the team attaches two lines from the boom to the tree. Afterward, they lift the trunk horizontally. Then they manipulate the cords to raise the top and get the tree into an upright position.
The operators position the base to a metal stand, and they secure the whole structure with sturdy cables.
Take a look at this video to see how it’s done.
But we don’t only owe the setup of these trees to cranes. Most of the time, people also resort to cranes and boom trucks to set up other types of Christmas decorations, like string lights, on tall structures. There aren’t many methods that are as well suited to this particular festive task.
Even Disneyland wouldn’t be the same magical wonderland over Christmas without cranes and their hardworking operators.
4 – A precious load
Thanks to their precision, cranes and their operators have been trusted with some incredibly precious cargo. This year a crane was used to lift an amazing Swarovski star and place it gently at the top of the NYC Rockefeller’s Tree.
The stunning topper boasts no less than 3 million crystals. Clearly, powerful equipment was required for the job as the star weighs 900 pounds. Moreover, it has 70 illuminated spikes and is 9 feet and 4 inches in diameter. Now that is what you call a showstopper.
5 – The crane that brought Christmas
There is more than one way that you can use cranes to bring some festive cheer to your neighborhood. One of these is using them in a seasonal parade.
For many people, they are a staple in these special events. Crane trucks are particularly handy for this. These vehicles have trailers onto which the crane is securely and permanently mounted.
Luckily, you can drive them around just like a regular truck.
People dress them up from top to bottom in festive gear like this one. Not everyone realizes this, but organizers often use them to carry out many of the centerpieces of parades, such as the giant balloons.
One of the cranes that’s perfect for this type of task is the National NBT 45. It has a 45 tons load capacity, and its boom is 142 feet long. So, it’s not the biggest crane out there. Therefore, it should be more maneuverable in the streets of your town or city.
Bringing the festive spirit
We bet you won’t think about cranes the same way again.
The holidays are upon us already. Whether you know it or not, construction vehicles all around the world are central to making many festive celebrations possible. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without them.
But it isn’t only the Rockefellers of the world who use cranes in this way. You, too, can turn your home, offices, or town into a wonderland with the help of one of these incredible machines.