Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting is being celebrated on November 30th this year. It takes place annually at Rockefeller Center, in Midtown Manhattan at New York City. 

Lighting up your Christmas tree during the winter holidays is an American pastime. One special part of the Christmas season is the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. It brings people together and creates beautiful moments for the people and tourists of New York City. 

As part of the Christmas tradition, the Rockefeller Center has a long history of joy, prosperity, and success. The tree lighting ceremony is broadcast each year on N.B.C. and is usually lit by the Mayor of New York City. 

Event Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
Date November 30, 2022
Day Wednesday
Significance The day marks the celebration of annual event at Rockefeller Center, in Midtown Manhattan at New York City.
Observed by United States


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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting History: 

The first set up of the Rockefeller Christmas tree began in December 1931 when demolition workers at the Rockefeller Center construction site gathered their money together to buy a Christmas tree. The 20-feet high Balsam fir was decorated with handmade garlands by the men’s families. This is considered to be first unofficial set up of the Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting. Two years later in 1933, the first official tree was erected in continuation of that event, and since then, it has been an annual tradition to erect a Christmas tree on the Rockefeller Plaza. 

Workers pooled their money for that unlit tree, with the garlands made by workers’ families. According to Rockefeller Center’s website, the tree was “from the beginning … a gathering place and reflection of what was happening in the world around it”. The annual ceremony that follows the lighting of the Christmas tree, usually by the sitting Mayor of New York City, is attended by dignitaries, celebrities, and tourists from around the world and is often broadcast on the N.B.C. news channel to millions of people watching from home and around the world. Since then, the skating rink opened in 1936 and the Rockefeller tree became a traditional stable in an American tradition.

World War II ushered in simple, patriotic decorations, including red, white and blue unlit globes and painted wooden stars. In 1942, instead of one large tree, three more modest trees were raised, each decorated in one of the flag’s colors. From 1944 until the war’s end in 1945, the tree went unlit due to blackout regulations. After the war, the year of darkness was left behind, as six ultraviolet light projectors were employed to make it appear as though the tree’s 700 fluorescent globes were glowing in the dark. 

By the 1950s, workers began using scaffolding to decorate the tree, as larger trees were accommodated. Before the decade was over, the decorating process called for 20 workers and nine days. The year 1951 marked the first time that NBC televised the tree lighting with a special on The Kate Smith Hour. The 1971 65-foot-tall (20 m) tree from East Montpelier, Vermont, was the first to be mulched and recycled. In 2001, following the September 11 attacks, the tree was again decorated in hues of red, white and blue. Another tradition that has occurred is the singing of the song Joy to the World by people during the lighting ceremony since 2011. 


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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Significance:  

Traditionally, the trees erected for the event have always been from New York and its surrounding states and are usually donated. But recently, the trees have come from as far as Ohio, brought to the center in one of the largest cargo planes available. The plaza’s Head Gardener, Erik Pauzé, is often responsible for scouting for the desired tree in upstate New York and surrounding states, and the assessment of the ones submitted for consideration to the center through its website. 

Once a tree is selected, a crane supports the tree while it is cut, then moved to a custom telescoping trailer able to transport trees up to 125 feet (38 m) tall, although the narrowness of the streets around Rockefeller Center limits the height of the tree to 100 feet (30 m). The tree is then delivered to the city by a local company, Christmas Tree Brooklyn. On its way to Manhattan, the tree is often dressed in giant red bows or banners extending holiday greetings to witnesses. Trucks, barges, and a transport plane have all been used to help the tree make the trip.

The decorated tree remains on display at the plaza entrance of 30 Rockefeller Plaza at least through January 6 of the new year. As of 2019, more than a half million people passed by the tree each day while it is on display, according to Rockefeller Center. Since 1997, the lighting ceremony has been broadcast live on NBC in the first hour of primetime, live in the Eastern and Central time zones, and on tape elsewhere. The ceremony is hosted by Today’s Al Roker (1997–present), Savannah Guthrie (2012–present), and Hoda Kotb (2017–present).

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony serves as a great source of entertainment during the Christmas season as it is usually followed by a series of performances from artists and bands all across the U.S. and because of this we get to watch these amazing performers live! And ofcourse how can we forget about the magnificent Christmas tree! The Christmas tree’s LED-lit star ornament is no doubt one of the many reasons tourists flock, from all over the country, to witness the ceremony. People love it!  


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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Celebrations: 

What can serve as a more better way to experience and observe the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting than to attend the event? Along with watching this beautiful Christmas tree you will get to witness exciting performance as well. 

This year, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton will perform a duet of their holiday single, “You Make It Feel Like Christmas,” additional performances will be from Jimmie Allen, Andrea Bocelli along with Matteo Bocelli and Virginia Bocelli, David Foster and Katharine McPhee, Brett Eldredge, Mickey Guyton, Alicia Keys, the Muppets of Sesame Street, Dan + Shay, The Shindellas, Louis York and more. 

If you can’ make a visit to this place then also you don’t have to worry much. As you can also watch the lighting ceremony on N.B.C., to observe the holiday. This year, NBC News’ TODAY co-anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and “Access Hollywood’s” Mario Lopez will co-host the highly anticipated holiday special where viewers will be treated to festive performances! 

Most Searched FAQs on Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting: 

1. When is Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting celebrated? 

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting is being celebrated on November 30th this year. 

2. How big is the Tree? 

The 2022 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a 82ft tall Norway Spruce, 50 feet wide and weighs 14 tons. 

3. How many lights are on the Tree? 

There are more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights on approximately 5 miles (8 km) of wire.

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