A 40-foot blue spruce tree took up residence in Monument Square on Thursday, marking the start of Portland’s Christmas season.

The tree was donated by Barbara Ripley, 66, of Portland and was chosen after an extensive search by the city. Ripley and her husband planted the tree 30 years ago in front of the home where they would raise their two daughters.

“I was hoping as it got bigger and it was turning into a gorgeous tree that someday it would be in Monument Square,” said Ripley. “It’s pretty exciting.”

Ripley said the tree was only 2 feet tall when they planted it. When it started to encroach on her house, she decided it was time to submit it for consideration. She was informed by the forestry department that the tree had been chosen after city and power company crews visited her house to assess it. The tree was downed early Thursday morning then transported by flatbed truck to Monument Square.

“We went in to see it and it looks lovely,” Ripley said. “It’s dwarfed by all the tall buildings in Monument Square but it looks beautiful.”

City Arborist Jeff Tarling, who has headed up the tree search since 1989, said he looked at trees at 12 trees before settling on the Ripley spruce. Tarling said cutting down a 2,800-pound tree and getting it to its destination safely can be challenging but he lauded his team’s efforts, particularly noting volunteers from Keeley Crane and Shaw Brothers Construction, who donate their time and equipment each year.

“I think we all look forward to the day after Thanksgiving when the tree is lit and thousands of people are down in Monument Square,” Tarling said. “Just being a part of that is gratifying.”

A tree-lighting ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. on Nov. 25. The tree will be decorated with over 3,000 LED bulbs donated by the nonprofit Efficiency Maine and lit by a child through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The night’s activities, which are being produced by the nonprofit Portland Downtown, will include a musical performance by children’s singer Rick Charette and the Bubblegum Band.

Ripley said she and her family are planning to attend the ceremony. Meanwhile, she will try to adjust to the open space in her yard, which she says makes her house looks twice as big as it used to. She’s not sure if she and her husband will plant anything new, but joked that if they did plant another tree, it would be up to the house’s next owner to figure out what to do with it.