Christmas at Rockefeller Center

Team Holiday

The holidays are upon us — a time to celebrate with cheer, joy, and all good things. For those in and around NYC, it signals that it is time for the lighting of the tree. 

Imagine it. 

An 80-foot tall Norway Spruce that is 43 feet wide and weighs a whopping 12 tons. This tree is between 80 and 85 years old from Vestal, NY. And, it will be decked out in over 50,000 multi-colored LED lights (equivalent to 5 miles of lights!) Then, on the very top, a 3-D Swarovski star weighing about 900 pounds, with 70 spikes covered in 3 million crystals. 

There is no doubt, it is a sight to see. 

Watching Christmas at Rockefeller Center has become a family tradition for many, near and far. And for a short time every year, this tree becomes a reminder of what the holidays are all about. 

History of Christmas at Rockefeller Center

The first Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was lit back in 1931. 

In the middle of the Great Depression, the construction crew building Rockefeller Center decided to use what funds they had to buy a Christmas tree. Their plan was to raise hope and spirits, as well as show gratitude for the small blessings they had. 

The spark lit by this tree must have spread far and wide because a Christmas tree has gone up in the same area every year since. The size and decorations may vary, but the tree has always shown up.  

In 1951, NBC decided to share the lighting live on television for the first time. This allowed those who weren’t in NYC to take part in this holiday spectacular. Families everywhere adopted a new holiday tradition. They were able to feel the hope and the joy through a TV screen.  

Today’s Christmas at Rockefeller Center

All these years later, as we celebrate the 92nd lighting of this iconic tree, families around the globe will once again tune in to experience the nostalgia it brings. 

Today’s Christmas at Rockefeller Center, however, looks much different than it did in the beginning. Still airing on NBC, the two-hour lighting celebration hosted by Kelly Clarkson is stuffed with musical performances and celebrity appearances by some of the most known in the industry. You can always expect a performance by the world-famous Rockettes, too. 

Whether you are planning on attending in person or watching from home, you can see all your favorites take the stage, including Keke Palmer, Cher, Katharine McPhee, Seth MacFarlane, David Foster, Chloe Bailey, Adam Blackstone, Lis Gillies, Darlene Love, Carly Pearce, and Manuel Turizo. Last but not least, the legendary Barry Manilow will also be performing.  

The entertainment is going to be non-stop — and something you surely won’t forget.  

Attending Rockefeller Center’s Christmas Tree Lighting

Are you in New York City and planning on attending the show live? If this is your first time, then there are a few things you should know. 

  • There are no tickets as the event is general admission
  • Arrive early — no later than 3:00 or 4:00 pm or you may not be able to see the tree
  • If you want to see the performers, you are going to need to arrive much earlier – definitely before noon
  • Security is going to be in place so there are no backpacks, large bags, or umbrellas permitted
  • Pay attention to street closures and plan accordingly

If your family is looking for a new tradition for the holiday season, the magic found at the Christmas at Rockefeller Center may be all you need. 

This annual event takes place on November 29, 2023, between W 48th & 51st St and 5th & 6th Ave. The celebration begins at 7:00 pm EST with the tree lighting at 9:57 pm EST.

At Upper West Side Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we support our community and honor the traditions that have brought us together, united for hope, year after year. Let’s celebrate together in kicking off the holiday season at Rockefeller Center!