"It's hard — I try to put a lot of thought into it and think what would look good," she said.
This year's tree will carry about 6,000 ornaments and 10,000 lights, put up by officials from the Public Works Department. A group of eight city employees, many whom return year after year, spent Monday prepping the tree.
They tossed ornaments and strings of lights back and forth, and used a forklift to decorate the top of the 28-foot-high tree.
"It's always a little rushed, but kind of fun," said decorator Mike Delfosse, who has been putting up ornaments for the last 20 years. "We started about six weeks early by painting the fence and the tree arrived [Nov. 25]."
The group enjoys putting the tree together and planned to have everything done by this morning, he said.
"Everybody pitches in and does this as fast as we can and as good as we can," he said.
By noon on Monday, the decorators were surrounding the tree with a small, white fence, soon to be littered with Christmas wreaths and huge candy canes.
"It's a lot of work, but lots of fun," Nolan said of the decorating.
As the shiny new ornaments — purchased this year — were lifted onto the tree, Nolan looked thoughtfully at the setup.
"You would hope nothing like that would ever happen again," she said of the fire.
Glendale resident Bruce Morrison torched the tree after he received a parking ticket from the Police Department, she said. Morrison was convicted of arson. He was sentenced to three years' probation and a $6,300 fine, she said.
Being that the Civic Center is just yards away from the Glendale Police Station, Nolan said she doubted there would be a repeat of the incident.