Cities across America light a huge tree in a public spot to launch the Christmas holidays. The major lighting traditions in the US happen at Rockefeller Center in New York City and at the White House in Washington DC. An impressive lineup of talent has been announced for these televised events.
Christmas in Rockefeller
December 2, 8-9 pm EST
The artists leading up to this 77th holiday lighting ceremony include soul legend Aretha Franklin, Canadian crooner Michael Bublé, Alicia Keys, Barry Manilow, and Latina pop star Shakira. Co-hosting the fun are actors from NBC-TV shows Jane Krakowski ( 30 Rock) and Zachary Levi ( Chuck). The Radio City Rockettes will also kick off the night.
National Christmas Tree Lighting
December 3, 5 pm EST
Grammy-winning artist Sheryl Crow, multi-platinum hip-hop act Common and singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne will perform at the 86th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the White House Park. The show will be streamed live online (www.thenationaltree.org) and telecast on PBS-TV, December 4. For the first time this year, a lottery system distributed seats to the public. President Obama will flip the switch to illuminate the tree.
Christmas in Washington
December 20, 8 pm EST
Another all-star musical event to celebrate the holidays is the 28th annual "Christmas In Washington" concert to air on the TNT cable channel. The 2009 headliners are R&B stars Mary J. Blige and Usher, both with upcoming December CD releases. Legend Neil Diamond sings from his new album, A Cherry Cherry Christmas. Country duo Sugarland and rock singer Rob Thomas also perform. Comedian/actor George Lopez hosts the show from the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.