Christmas lights may already be strung around the city, but the holiday season in New York City won’t be officially underway until the Rockefeller Tree is lit today.
The iconic tree lighting in Rockefeller Centre has drawn the attention of New Yorkers and visitors alike who gather to experience the heartwarming tradition since it first started in 1931.
This year’s ceremony will take place Wednesday, November 28.
The 86th annual lighting will be made even more special with performances from stars including Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Brett Eldredge, and John Legend.
Fortunately, for those who can’t experience the lighting in person, or want to avoid crowds, the event will be broadcast live on TV - as it has been since 1951 - and streamed online.
How to watch the 2018 Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree Lighting live on TV
If you decide to opt out of the cold and watch the lighting from home, you can view the entire event, hosted by Today anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, and Craig Melvin, on NBC at 8pm ET.
The actual lighting is set to occur around 9pm.
The broadcast is expected to conclude at 10pm, and will include the lighting and all musical performances.
For coverage ahead of the tree lighting, you can watch a pre-show hosted by Mario Lopez, Stefan Holt, and Natalie Pasquarella at 7pm and following the show, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen’s Christmas Special “A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy” will air at 10pm.
How to watch the lighting online
For those who don’t have TV or cable access, the lighting will be available for viewing on the NBC mobile app which can be downloaded for free on your phone.
If you do have cable, you can also follow along with the festivities by signing in to your cable provider and streaming the event on NBC on your computer.
Who is performing
The list of performers includes: Diana Ross, John Legend, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, Brett Eldredge, Darci Lynne Farmer, Martina McBride, Pentatonix, and Kellie Pickler.
What to know about the tree
This year’s Christmas tree is a 75-year-old Norway Spruce tree named Shelby.
The tree, which is 72 feet tall, came from Wallkill, New York, and was donated by Shirley Figeuroa and Lissette Gutierrez.
During the holiday season, the tree will be lit every day from 5.30am to 11.30pm until January 6.
On Christmas Day, the tree will be ablaze for 24 hours.
After January 7, the last day visitors can see the tree in Rockefeller Centre, the tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.
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