Old School Americana & Nostalgia

News

Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony 2023: How to Watch

Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony 2023: How to Watch

With the 2023 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade behind us, it’s time for another holiday tradition: the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas tree!

The 91st anniversary event takes place Wednesday night (Nov 29) and is hosted by Kelly Clarkson, who recently moved The Kelly Clarkson Show to New York. The weekly talk show currently films at a Rockefeller Center studio.

“I’m so excited to consider this city and Rockefeller Center my new home, and I can’t imagine a better way to kick off Christmas this year than to be a part of this beautiful New York tradition with the lighting of the tree,” Clarkson gushed in a statement.

Here’s how to watch the 2023 Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting ceremony, as well as what you can expect from this year’s broadcast.

What Time is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting?

The Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting ceremony kicks off at 7 PM ET at Rockefeller Center, located between 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan. Between tonight and when the tree is taken down in January, an estimated 125 million will visit the towering holiday icon.

Don’t worry, though. If you’re unable to attend the tree lighting (or are unwilling to brave the 31-degree weather forecast for tonight), you can catch all the action from the warmth of your home!

The Kelly Clarkson-hosted event will be broadcast on NBC and Peacock beginning at 8 PM ET. The event concludes at 10 PM ET, minutes after the switch is flipped to illuminate this year’s stunning Rockefeller Christmas tree.

Details About the 2023 Rockefeller Christmas Tree

The now-beloved Christmas tradition began way back in 1931. Employees at Rockefeller Center pooled their money to buy a 20-foot tall balsam fir tree. Now, a 20-foot tree is no small piece of greenery. In the 8 decades since the tradition’s inception, however, the NYC holiday staple has become far grander.

Today, the enormous 80-year-old tree decorating Rockefeller Plaza is a staggering 80 feet tall and 43 feet wide. Since arriving in the Big Apple on November 11, the 12-ton tree has been decked out with over 50,000 LEDs. That’s approximately 5 miles of string lights!

And, of course, no Christmas tree is complete without a star to crown it. This year’s Rockefeller tree’s pinnacle features the 900-pound Swarovski crystal star designed by architect Daniel Libeskind in 2018.

Following the lighting ceremony, the Rockefeller tree will remain lit daily from 5 AM to midnight. On Christmas Day, the tree will remain lit for 24 hours. On New Year’s Eve, it will glow from 5 AM to 9 PM ET.

Once the holidays are over, the tree will come down on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, at 10 PM ET.

Alongside host Kelly Clarkson, many celebrities will make an appearance at the 2023 Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting ceremony. First, NBC’s TODAY hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, and Craig Melvin will support Clarkson in her hosting role.

Celebrities performing at Rockefeller Center ahead of the lighting include:

  • Cher
  • Barry Manilow
  • Keke Palmer
  • Liz Gillies & Seth MacFarlane
  • The Rockettes
  • Darlene Love

Instrumentalist Adam Blackstone, musician David Foster and his wife Katharine McPhee, singer-songwriter Chlöe, country singer Carly Pearce, and Columbian singer Manuel Turizo will also grace the Rockefeller stage.