It's Christmas at the Americana at Brand

Even before all the Jack-O-Lanterns have been carved, the Americana at Brand on Wednesday was preparing for the launch of the holiday shopping season with the arrival of a 100-foot white fir Christmas tree on the park in the center of the shopping mall.

Workers used a crane to place the tree in an 8-foot hole, settling the trunk on a long spike and supporting it with wires and other materials. Mike Cable of Orange County-based Victor's Christmas Tree Service said the fir is from the Mt. Shasta area in Northern California, and is one of about 18, 100-footers he and fellow crew members are setting up at shopping centers in Southern California and Arizona this season.

As the tree was being secured, Suzanne Sutter, chief executive of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, launched the charity's holiday campaign at a press conference. The charity that has made the holiday wishes of 250,000 sick children come true will host several events at the Americana at Brand this year.

Make-A-Wish recipients will tell their stories at the Americana on Nov. 18, when the shopping center holds the ceremonial tree lighting. Other Make-A-Wish events will take place throughout December. For more information, visit

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