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Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center, Manhattan, New York City

NYC Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan
NYC Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan

Related Content: Manhattan, NYC — Sightseeing & Attractions

Related Content: Rockefeller Center, Manhattan, New York City

When will the Christmas tree in New York City be lit?

2022: on the 30th of November

Generally speaking, at the end of November on a Tuesday or Wednesday: on the day of the Christmas tree enlightenment, the entertainment program starts at about 19:00 and goes until 21:00.

On the following days, the Christmas tree will be lit daily from about 6 am AM until midnight. On Christmas Day then 24 hours.

approx. at 8.30 pm the tree is illuminated.

The ceremony starts at 7.00 pm.


The ceremony is an integral part of New York City and Rockefeller Center. Since 1931, the Christmas season has been heralded here with a Christmas tree.

In 1931, however, this had little to do with today’s spectacular and festive form – Rockefeller Center was still a construction site and it was the workers there who for the first time erected a tree in the midst of building materials.

But it was more than just putting up a Christmas tree – it was a symbol of strength, of the will to endure the economic depression that was just at its peak. The construction of rockefeller Center alone seemed like the ‘good sign’ of the hopefully better times ahead.

The workers are thus laying the foundation for a tradition that was to be given a status similar to the 4th of July celebrations and the Thanksgiving parades.

In 1933, the tree became very festive and 700 candles lit it in front of the recently completed Rockefeller Center.

From 1941, the tradition learned to adapt to wartime – after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the lighting had to be switched off.

1942 was the second Christmas of the war, but this year it even increased: three trees were erected and decorated in the national colors red, white and blue – the candles were also missing this year because of the war.

In 1945, something new was devised to illuminate the tree, at least occasionally in the dark times of war: the 700 spheres were phosphoresced and could be made to glow with UV light. In 1946, this type of lighting was repeated.

In 1951, the entire US nation was able to witness the enlightenment ceremony for the first time: for the first time it was broadcast on TV.

In 1966, a non-US tree was erected for the first time: Canada donated the tree, which came from the Ottawa area, on the occasion of the centenary since the founding of the Confederation of Canadian Provinces and the establishment of the border (almost exactly the 49th parallel) with the USA.

The dimensions & data

There is a minimum size of 65 ft height (19.81m) and 35 ft width (10.67m). However, a height beyond 70 ft (21.3m) up to 95ft (just under 29m) is desired.

Most often it is a Norwegian spruce, which is set up at night with a crew of 20-25 people and a crane so as not to burden the traffic. About 25,000+ light bulbs are connected by about 8km of cables and decorate the tree today. The only other decoration of modern times is a star on top.

Since the 2012 Christmas tree, 30,000 energy-saving LED bulbs have been chosen.

Web: 🎄 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting | NYC Winter Events

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