84th Rockefeller Tree Lighting in New York City

If Santa’s arrival at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade doesn’t make it officially the beginning of Christmas, another marker to start the magical holiday season in New York City is the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. A week after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and after the department stores unveil their famous window holiday displays, the true start of the holiday Season begins. In 1931, workers from building the complex had put up the first Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and the first official tree lighting was in 1933. The tree is a world-wide symbol of the holidays and will be wrapped in more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights and topped with a Swarovski star.

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The 94-foot Norway spruce came from upstate Oneonta, N.Y., and had a 140-mile journey to 30 Rock in Manhattan. It’s ready for the tens of thousands of people crowding the sidewalks for the event and hundreds of millions watch the Tree Lighting Ceremony broadcast live across the globe. This year’s event will be missing the “Queen of Christmas,” Mariah Carey, but will still have an impressive lineup with performance from Neil Diamond, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Kelly, Garth Brooks, Josh Groban, Trisha Yearwood, Dolly Parton, Tony Bennett, and of course the Radio City Rockettes. The tree will stay up January 7, 2017 and will be illuminated from 5:30 am to midnight, all day (24 hours) on Christmas Day and 5:30 am – 9 pm on New Year’s Eve. For More Info: www.rockefellercenter.com/holidays/rockefeller-center-christmas-tree-lighting/

If you’re planning to go see the tree lighting, be prepared for densely packed crowds and street closures. You can always watch the Christmas in Rockefeller Center lighting ceremony on NBC from 7pm-9pm on November 30, and the countdown to lighting the 94-foot-tall tree will start just before 8:55pm.