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‘Christmas in Rockefeller Center’ live updates: See all the performances and best moments

The 2022 tree lighting ceremony is here to get you in the holly jolly spirit.

Ho, ho, ho! It’s the holidays and what better way to kick off the season than with the annual lighting of New York’s very own Rockefeller Center Christmas tree?

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the beloved tradition and we’ve got the lowdown on all the festivities and show-stopping performances at NBC’s “Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” as they happen, including an appearance by Mother Nature, who has decided to cooperate just in the ol’ Saint Nick of time.

Either way, not even a Grinch could steal our Christmas spirit this year because we’re just full of dahoo dores as we eagerly await to see this year's Norway Spruce brought to light and crowned with the Swarovski star.

With more than 50,000 multi-colored LED bulbs strung on this year’s tree, it promises to be the most, ahem, illuminating spectacle of the season.

Along with keeping you up to date on all of the night’s events, we’ve also got the story behind this year’s massive Norway spruce, the fascinating history behind the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and everything else you want to know about this iconic celebration.

In the meantime, grab a cup of cocoa (marshmallows on top, please) and get ready for an evening of performances sure to have you singing Christmas carols and trimming the tree right along with us.


509d ago / 2:59 AM UTC

Let there be light!

The moment we've all been waiting for has finally arrived!

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is shining bright, officially kicking off the 2022 holiday season. We're sure you'll agree that it's truly a showstopper.

Now that you're in the spirit, fire up the Christmas movies, crank up some festive tunes and map out your holiday menu. Our gift to you: Tons of ideas and inspiration right here.

509d ago / 2:52 AM UTC

Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani perform their duet

Sweet gingerbread and sleigh bells singing hallelujah! We are totally feeling Christmas watching Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani sing their duet “You Make It Feel Like Christmas.”

509d ago / 2:48 AM UTC

Jimmie Allen performs 'This Christmas'

Jimmie Allen joins the ranks of Donny Hathaway, Patti LaBelle and Harry Connick, Jr. by performing this time-honored tune all about hanging mistletoe and cozying up by the fire.

509d ago / 2:39 AM UTC

Dan + Shay perform 'Holiday Party'

Grab a cup of eggnog and get ready to have some Christmas fun. Country duo Dan + Shay are making spirits bright with their song “Holiday Party.”

509d ago / 2:32 AM UTC

Katharine McPhee and David Foster perform ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’

The beloved Bing Crosby tune never fails to tug at the heartstrings. Katharine McPhee and David Foster offer a fresh take on the 1943 classic.

509d ago / 2:28 AM UTC

Andrea, Matteo and Virginia Bocelli perform ‘The Greatest Gift’

The trio returns to perform “The Greatest Gift” off their album” A Family Christmas.” How fitting!

509d ago / 2:24 AM UTC

How and when to view this year's tree

The only thing better than watching the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony is seeing the iconic tree up close and personal.

If you're planning a trip to New York City this December, then a stop at 30 Rock to see the Christmas tree is practically mandatory. Here's what you need to know before you go.

Where is the tree located?

The Rockefeller Center tree is located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.

When are the viewing hours?

The tree will be lit daily throughout the holiday season from 6 a.m. until 12 a.m. On Christmas Day, the tree will be lit for 24 hours. On New Year's Eve, it will be lit from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

When does the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree come down?

The exact date the tree will come has yet to be decided. According to a Rockefeller Center spokesperson, it's safe to assume the tree will remain up through mid-January.

Find out more details here.


509d ago / 2:19 AM UTC

Mickey Guyton performs 'I Still Pray'

Vocal powerhouse Mickey Guyton brings her soul to the stage with “I Still Pray.”

509d ago / 2:15 AM UTC

Gwen Stefani performs 'Under The Christmas Lights'

Who needs mistletoe when you can enjoy a night with your favorite person under the Christmas lights? Gwen Stefani returns to the stage to sing a song about exactly that.

509d ago / 2:10 AM UTC

The Sesame Street Muppets are back

Celebrating the spirit of the season, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby and other Sesame Street favorites pay tribute to “The Nutcracker” with their performance of “Best Christmas Ever.”

 

509d ago / 2:05 AM UTC

Brett Eldredge performs 'Feels Like Christmas'

Hey, hey, hey! Santa’s on his way and Brett Eldredge is back to perform his original song “Feels Like Christmas.”

509d ago / 1:58 AM UTC

Dan + Shay perform 'Pick Out A Christmas Tree'

Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney of the country duo Dan + Shay perform their festive tune about the virtues of swinging by the store (top shelf, aisle three) to “Pick Out A Christmas Tree.”

509d ago / 1:52 AM UTC

Alicia Keys performs 'Santa Baby'

Alicia Keys performs 'Santa Baby' from her album by the same name.

509d ago / 1:45 AM UTC

Blake Shelton performs 'Up On The Housetop'

Oh, oh, oh! Blake Shelton is getting into the spirit singing this Gene Autry favorite “Up on the Housetop.”

509d ago / 1:44 AM UTC

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree by the numbers

This year's tree hails from Queensbury, New York and measures 82-feet tall and 50-feet wide. But that's only the beginning: If you love numbers, read on for more tree-via.

  • 8590 — This year’s tree is approximately 85 to 90 years old.
  • 14 — The tree weighs approximately 14 tons
  • 50,000 — There are more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights on the tree
  • 5 — If stretched out, the Christmas tree lights equal roughly 5 miles of wire.
  • 2018 — The Swarovski star on the top was designed by Daniel Libeskind in 2018.
  • 900 — The star weighs approximately 900 pounds.
  • 70 — There are 70 spikes on the star.
  • 3 — The star is covered in more than 3 million crystals.
  • 9'4" — The diameter of the Swarovski star is 9 feet 4 inches.
  • 1931 — The year the first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was put up.
  • 1933 — The year of the first official tree lighting ceremony.
  • 1999 — The year of the largest tree in Rockefeller Center history, coming in at 100 feet tall.
  • 25,000 — The number of trees that NBCUniversal will plant this year in areas affected by natural disasters.
  • 800,000 — The average number of people who come per day to visit the tree.
509d ago / 1:41 AM UTC

Jimmie Allen, Louis York and The Shindellas perform 'What Does Christmas Mean?'

What does Christmas mean? Well, a whole lot of things, but mostly, as everyone knows, it’s all about love.

Jimmie Allen, Louis York and The Shindellas are here to tell us about it in a holiday song called — you guessed it — “What Does Christmas Mean?”

509d ago / 1:31 AM UTC

Brett Eldredge performs ‘Mr. Christmas’

Country star Brett Eldredge performs the song “Mr. Christmas” from his holiday album by the same name.

509d ago / 1:30 AM UTC

The Sesame Street Muppets join in tonight’s fun

The Muppets have been around since “Sesame Street” premiered on public television back in 1969.

More than just TV characters, Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Elmo, Grover and the rest of the gang have become like family to kids all over the world.

509d ago / 1:27 AM UTC

Katharine McPhee and David Foster perform a beloved classics

Singer-songwriter and actress Katharine McPhee joins husband and legendary music icon David Foster in a mashup of “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

509d ago / 1:20 AM UTC

It's a family affair!

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performs the iconic John Lennon and Yoko Ono song, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” with his children Matteo and Virginia.

509d ago / 1:15 AM UTC

Mickey Guyton performs 'Jingle Bell Rock'

Country artist Mickey Guyton has got everyone’s toes tapping to the 1957 Bobby Helms hit, “Jingle Bell Rock.”

509d ago / 1:06 AM UTC

Alicia Keys performs 'Please Come Home For Christmas'

Into every Christmas, a little blues must fall. Alicia Keys performs Charles Brown’s “Please Come Home For Christmas,” which became a chart-topper for the Eagles in 1978.

509d ago / 1:01 AM UTC

Gwen Stefani kicks off NBC’s ‘Christmas in Rockefeller Center'

Gwen Stefani opens tonight’s annual holiday celebration by performing the perennial kids’ favorite “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”

During a recent appearance on TODAY, the singer and “The Voice” coach expressed her excitement about performing during the tree lighting ceremony.

"This is one of those things you grew up hearing about,” Stefani told TODAY. “I was from Los Angeles, so I never went to New York when I was a little girl. So it’s even a bigger deal for me to be here and be part of this.”

509d ago / 12:47 AM UTC

The P.S. 14Q school choir performs!

The P.S. 14Q Chorus from Queens, New York, performs the festive Christmas carol “Deck the Halls.”

The Fairview School choir was selected to sing at celebration by the “Kelly Clarkson Show” who chose the choir after viewing dozens of entrants from around the New York tri-state area.

509d ago / 12:31 AM UTC

See tonight's star-studded lineup

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree isn't the only thing lighting up tonight's celebration!

The event is jam-packed with fun and festive performances you won't want to miss, including a duet by Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani.

“The tree lighting at Rockefeller Center is one of the most beloved holiday traditions for audiences both in New York and around the country,” Jen Neal, Executive Vice President, Live Events & Specials, NBC Entertainment, said in a press release.

“We’re delighted to have a star-studded lineup of performers help us celebrate and ring in the season.”

Here's a list of all the performers to watch during tonight's broadcast:

  • Jimmie Allen
  • Andrea Bocelli along with Matteo and Virginia Bocelli
  • David Foster and Katharine McPhee
  • Brett Eldredge
  • Mickey Guyton
  • Alicia Keys
  • The Muppets of Sesame Street
  • Dan + Shay
  • Blake Shelton
  • The Shindellas
  • Gwen Stefani
  • Louis York
  • The Radio City Rockettes
  • Amy Poehler
  • Maya Rudolph
509d ago / 12:28 AM UTC

The story behind this year's tree

Erik Pauze, Rockefeller Center’s head gardener, was en route to check out a prospective Christmas tree in Queensbury, New York, when a mile short of his destination, a different tree caught his eye.

“From the time I saw it over the top of the stores when I was driving on Main Street in Queensbury, I said, ‘Boy, I hope it looks just as good around the bottom [as it does on top],’” Pauze tells TODAY.com. “And sure enough, it did.”

They didn’t know it yet, but the Lebowitz family was about to become part of Rockefeller Center history.

Longtime residents of Glens Falls, New York, the Lebowitz’s learned in June that the 90-year-old Norway spruce growing on their family property in neighboring Queensbury was a finalist for this year’s Christmas tree.

“All the family members were told that this must be kept confidential,” Lisa Lebowitz tells TODAY.com via email. “We could not tell anyone until it was formally announced by Rockefeller Center.”

The Lebowitz’s received confirmation that their tree had been selected in the fall and on Nov. 1, it was officially revealed that the 82-foot tree was heading to New York City.

“We finally could tell our well-kept secret,” Lebowitz says, “and it has been total excitement since then.”

Family members, press and hundreds of locals gathered to watch the tree come down.

When asked if they’ll miss having the spruce on their property, Lebowitz says they are "very proud to be donating this tree" because they understand how much the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree means to so many people.

“The fact that it will ultimately be used as lumber for Habitat for Humanity also makes it meaningful,” she says.


509d ago / 12:09 AM UTC

How the Rockefeller tree is chosen

If you’ve ever wondered how the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is selected each year, you’re in luck.

TODAY.com talked to Erik Pauze, the head gardener for Rockefeller Center since 1995, to find out all the details on the annual selection process and you might be surprised to learn exactly what it takes to be a Rockefeller Center tree.

“First you’ve got to find a nice, big, beautiful Norway spruce that you would want to put up in your living room and look good in front of your house,” Pauze tells TODAY.com. “That’s what we try to do here.”

It’s not just one tree, however, Pauze travels all over the country, scouting out dozens of potential trees each year.

“I’ll take a different way home, I’ll take the long way home, I’ll stop off, stay overnight somewhere,” he says.

Pauze also receives photo submissions from people willing to donate their tree and between the two, he narrows down the search by midsummer.

“Ten of them are good,” he says. “Three are really good.” And of those three, Pauze chooses the one he thinks will look the best, along with having a backup plan in the unfortunate event that something happens to it.

To qualify, Pauze notes that a tree must be a Norway spruce since it withstand the weight of all the lights, wires and cables needed to decorate it.

Next, it needs to be the right size. To be considered, a tree must be at least 70 feet tall and 40 to 42 feet wide, according to Pauze.

This year’s tree is 82 feet tall and 50 feet wide, which Pauze says is one of the wider trees he’s chosen. “This one’s big and beautiful,” he says.

Once a tree’s been selected and cut down, it’s placed on a special trailer reserved just for the once-a-year trip to the Big Apple.

While traveling to the city, the tree gets a lot of attention. “There’s people on overpasses” and “10, 12 cars lined up in the rest area, taking pictures of us,” which Pauze says is a lot of fun.

For Pauze the best part of the job is picking out a tree, then returning a few months later to ensure it’s the right one for Rockefeller Center.

“That’s when I start to get excited about the possibility of it becoming the tree,” he says. “That’s what makes it special, that excitement.”