Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Rockefeller Center reveals 2023 Christmas Tree: Here are the important dates and info

The tree lighting show is set to kick off at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Nov. 29

NBC Universal, Inc.

Move over, spooky Halloween decorations. It's time for tinsels, Christmas lights and the big Rockefeller Christmas tree reveal.

Real estate giant Tishman Speyer announced Wednesday that the 2023 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be coming from Vestal, New York. The tree joining what is now NBC's annual tradition is an 80-year-old Norway Spruce. It's 80 feet tall and 43 feet wide, according to Rockefeller Center. The 12-ton tree is set to arrive in the city later this month ahead of the lighting.

Here's everything we know so far about the festivities and more fun facts about the annual extravaganza.

When is the Rockefeller Christmas tree arriving?

The 2023 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be cut down from Vestal on Thursday, Nov. 9, before it travels roughly 200 miles to Manhattan. It will arrive in the plaza on Saturday, Nov. 11 and be hoisted into place.

The tree's arrival is expected to be a spectacle as always, and there will be family-fun activities for holiday lovers to enjoy on the South Plaza from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., according to organizers. The Rock and Roll Playhouse will be performing kid-friendly holiday classics and there will also be storytimes with independent bookstore McNally Jackson.

Little ones will also have the opportunity to write letters to Santa, decorate their own ornaments, and even get their faces painted.

The festivities are free to the public but those who RSVP in advance will receive a free treat at check-in. Click here for more details.

How will the tree be decorated?

After arriving on Center Plaza, more than 50,000 multi-colored LEDs will be strung over about 5 miles of wire to adorn the 2023 tree. It will then be crowned with a 9-foot, 900-pound Swarovski star covered in 3 million crystals.

When is the tree lighting?

The tree lighting show is set to kick off at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Nov. 29. You'll be able to watch NBC's "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" in a live broadcast on TV, on Peacock and wherever you stream NBC 4 New York.

This year's show will be hosted by Kelly Clarkson. The Emmy and Grammy winner will pull double duty as a performer as well. She first performed at the special 20 years ago!

1931 First Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree - Courtesy of Rockefeller Group, Inc
Rockefeller Group
The first Christmas tree to grace Rockefeller Plaza was in 1931.

Here's a brief history of the tree-lighting

  • 1931 – Construction workers building Rockefeller Center put up a Christmas tree, the first-ever Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
  • 1933 - First formal Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony. The tree was decked with 700 lights in front of the eight-month-old RCA Building.
  • 1936 - Two trees, each 70 feet (21.3 m) tall, were erected. For the first time the Lighting Ceremony included a skating pageant on the newly opened Rockefeller Plaza Outdoor Ice Skating Pond.
  • 1942 - Three trees were placed on Rockefeller Plaza, one decorated in red, one in white and one in blue to show support for our troops serving during World War II.
  • 1949 - The tree was painted silver, to look like snow.
  • 1951 – The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was lit for the first time on national television on the Kate Smith Show.
  • 1966 - The first tree from outside the United States was erected. It was given by Canada, in honor of the Centennial of its Confederation. This is the farthest distance a tree has traveled to Rockefeller Center.
  • 1980 - For the 50th tree lighting, a 70-foot-tall (21.3 m) Norway Spruce came from the grounds of the Immaculate Conception Seminary of Mahwah, N.J. Bob Hope participated in the lighting.
  • 1999 – The largest tree in Rockefeller Center history, 100 feet tall, came from Killingworth, Connecticut.
  • 2004 – The Swarovski-designed star became the largest star to ever grace the tree.
  • 2007 – For the first time, the tree was lit with energy-efficient LEDs. They draw a fraction of the power that had been traditionally required by the tree, reducing energy consumption from 3,510 kwH to 1,297 kwH per day, saving as much energy as a family would use in a month in a 2,000-square-foot home. Hundreds of solar panels atop one of the Rockefeller Center buildings help power the new LEDs.
  • 2021 – For the first time, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree comes from Maryland.

What happens to the Rockefeller Center tree after the Holidays?

The tree will be milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is a long-term tenant of 30 Rockefeller Center.

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