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Rockefeller tree lighting 2020: When it starts and how to watch

It's a perfect way to kick off the holiday season.
/ Source: TODAY

This year's holiday season may not look or feel quite like ones from the past, but if the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has anything to say about it, it's still going to be a time of joy and celebration.

The tree has been part of the holiday celebration in Rockefeller Center since 1931; the lighting has been broadcast live around the world since 1951. And this year, the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

2020 Christmas Tree Delivered To Rockefeller Center For Holiday Season
The 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.Cindy Ord / Getty Images

Now, we all know the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree took a little beating on the road to its final destination on the plaza (while also transporting a stowaway), and then took a little further ribbing on social media, but we suspect that once it's all dressed up and lit for the season, there'll be oohs and aahs aplenty.

But this year, the only way to enjoy the lighting and all the attendant performances and ceremony will be from the comfort and safety of your own home.

Here's everything you need to know about the big event to come!

2019's Rockfeller Center Christmas tree, seen at the lighting ceremony on December 4. Kathy Willens / AP

6 facts about the Rockefeller Christmas tree

  • It's 75 feet tall, and 45 feet wide.
  • It's a Norway spruce from Oneonta, New York.
  • It weighs 11 tons (give or take)
  • It will be dressed up with over 50,000 multicolored LED lights and topped with a Swarovski star
  • The star, which was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind in 2018, weighs about 900 pounds and features 3 million crystals
  • When the tree comes down sometime in January, the wood will be milled into lumber and donated to Habitat for Humanity.

When is the Rockefeller Center tree lighting?

The Rockefeller Center tree lighting festivities start at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

How to watch the Rockefeller Center tree lighting:

Due to pandemic and social distancing restrictions, there will be no public access to the plaza for the lighting ceremony. So stay home and tune in on Dec. 2 from 8-10 p.m. EST on NBC, as TODAY anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and Al Roker host the festivities.

Christmas in Rockefeller Center - Season 2019
(From l.-r.) TODAY's Craig Melvin, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker during the 2019 Christmas in Rockefeller Center lighting.Nathan Congleton / NBC

In addition, there will be a live hour of special performances on all NBC stations and many affiliates from 7-8 p.m. ET, hosted by "Access Hollywood's" Mario Lopez, NBC4 New York's Natalie Pasquarella and David Ushery.

Who is performing at the Rockefeller tree lighting in 2020?

During the evening, expect festive performances from:

Kelly Clarkson

Goo Goo Dolls

Earth, Wind & Fire

Jimmy Fallon

Brett Eldredge

Tori Kelly

Leslie Odom Jr.

Dolly Parton, Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani are just three of the musical stars set to perform during the ceremony.
Dolly Parton, Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani are just three of the musical stars set to perform during the ceremony.NBC

Dolly Parton


Dan + Shay

Gwen Stefani

Meghan Trainor

Cast of the Tony-winning "Ain't Too Proud"

The Radio City Rockettes

Clarkson and Eldredge are set to perform together, and duet partners include Parton/Fallon, plus Trainor/Earth, Wind & Fire.

When can I see the Rockefeller Center tree in person?

After the ceremony, the plaza will be open as per usual, and the public will be able to view it fully lit up from 6 a.m. ET to Midnight each day; on Christmas day it will be lit for 24 hours. But bring a mask, and make your memories from a safe social distance!

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