NEW YORK CITY — There’s a man dressed as a Christmas tree roaming the streets of the Big Apple.
He’s Mr. Christmas Tree, and he’s fast become one of New York City’s most beloved holiday characters.
Thomas Liberto, 46, has been making his holiday trip dressed as a Christmas tree for the past five years, visiting the city every year and reminding New Yorkers to smile every once in a while.
A native of Bel Air, Maryland, Liberto told CNN he “figured New York was missing something” so he decided to create a self-made Christmas tree ghillie suit and make the trek to the city.
“The reactions are priceless, I love it. It’s a lot of “holy ****, oh my God, WHOA, I LOVE THAT, and bouts of laughter can be heard everywhere I go,” Liberto said.
To protect strangers who have allergies, Liberto’s homemade suit is fashioned out of an artificial Christmas tree, along with battery-powered lights that blink and decorations.
The street performer does not travel on any particular route. Instead, he hops on the subway and gets off at random stops, in addition to visiting popular tourist areas like Times Square.
“As far as issues with law enforcement officers, well, I always make sure to stop by where they are posted at to deliver smiles and try to brighten their day a little bit as well as to thank them for standing out there day and night throughout all the cold weather watching over everybody and keeping us safe,” Liberto told CNN.
Liberto, who heads back to Maryland on Sunday, was spending his last day in the city Saturday wandering around and making a special appearance at the Shadow Traffic’s Burning of Grievances event in Brooklyn.
“All the smiles I spread makes my smile wider,” Liberto said.