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`Christmas in Rockefeller Center` key art courtesy of NBC
"Christmas in Rockefeller Center" key art courtesy of NBC

NBC celebrates 90 years of annual tree-lighting ceremony with special 'Christmas in Rockefeller Center'

Press Release

Wed, Nov 23rd 2022 08:25 pm

Jimmie Allen, Andrea Bocelli, Matteo Bocelli, Virginia Bocelli, Brett Eldredge, David Foster and Katharine McPhee, Mickey Guyton, Alicia Keys, Amy Poehler, Radio City Rockettes, Maya Rudolph, The Muppets of Sesame Street, Dan + Shay, Blake Shelton, The Shindellas, Gwen Stefani, Louis York and more participate in beloved holiday tradition

√ ‘Today’ co-anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and ‘ACCESS Hollywood’ host Mario Lopez co-host live telecast 

NBC kicks off the holiday season lighting of one of the world’s most famous Christmas trees in the heart of New York City for the 90th time with the annual “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” special. The two-hour telecast airs Wednesday, Nov. 30 (8 p.m. ET/PT). 

Viewers will be treated to festive performances by 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, Blake Shelton, The Shindellas, Gwen Stefani, Louis York and more. The evening also includes a performance by the Radio City Rockettes from their iconic “Christmas Spectacular” and a special bit by Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph. Plus, Shelton and Stefani deliver a rare nationally televised duet of their holiday single, “You Make It Feel Like Christmas.” 

NBC News’ “Today” co-anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and “ACCESS Hollywood” host Mario Lopez will host the highly anticipated holiday special.

Prior to the primetime telecast, an additional live hour of the special will be broadcast on all NBC Owned Television Stations and on numerous NBC affiliates nationwide starting at 7 p.m. ET. Check local listings. This special live hour will be led by Lopez and WNBC news anchors Natalie Pasquarella and David Ushery.

“The tree lighting at Rockefeller Center is one of the most beloved holiday traditions for audiences both in New York and around the country,” said Jen Neal, executive vice president, live events and specials, NBC Entertainment. “We’re delighted to have a star-studded lineup of performers help us celebrate and ring in the season.”

The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dates back nine decades to 1931 during the Great Depression. The first official tree-lighting ceremony occurred two years later in 1933 in front of the then 8-month-old RCA Building (the current Comcast Building). The Christmas tree gathering was enhanced in 1936 with the opening of the Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice-skating rink. NBC-TV televised the tree lighting for the first time in 1951 on “The Kate Smith Show” and as part of the nationwide “Howdy Doody” television show from 1953-55. 

The annual holiday special will celebrate the lighting of an 82-foot-tall, 50-foot-wide Norway Spruce from Queensbury. The tree weighs approximately 14 tons, will be adorned with more than 50,000 multicolored LED lights and topped with a three-dimensional Swarovski star covered in 3 million crystals. 

NBCUniversal will continue its partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation for the 14th year in a row to support tree-planting efforts across the U.S. This year, NBCUniversal will plant 25,000 trees in areas that have been affected by wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters. The Arbor Day Foundation is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees, having helped to plant more than 400 million trees since it was founded almost 50 years ago. 

Continuing a longstanding tradition, after the tree leaves Rockefeller Center it will be donated to Habitat for Humanity and milled into lumber that will be used for home building. 

In order to create a more inclusive experience for blind and visually impaired viewers, NBCUniversal is proud to present the full NBC broadcast with live audio description on the Secondary Audio Program channel (SAP), provided by Descriptive Video Works. The broadcast will be available with additional audio narration, describing the rich visuals of the tree lighting.

At key moments throughout the night, viewers will have the opportunity to donate to Red Nose Day in support of programs that ensure children and families have the access they need to health care, nutritious food, quality education and a safe place to call home. Money raised during the broadcast will support critical programs that keep children safe, healthy, educated and empowered through partnerships including Feeding America, Save the Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of America/Native Clubs, Brotherhood Sister Sol, Ali Forney Center, Covenant House and more. Since 2015, Red Nose Day has raised over $324 million and positively impacted the lives of nearly 30 million children in the U.S. and around the world. 

For more information on “Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” visit

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