The Magic Of The Rockefeller Tree Lighting (2024 Updated)

The Magic Of The Rockefeller Tree Lighting

The Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony, a beloved tradition since 1933, is more than just an event – it’s the heart of New York City’s holiday season. This annual spectacle, also known as the Rockefeller tree lighting, has evolved into a symbol of unity and festive spirit, attracting both locals and tourists alike. The grandeur of the Christmas tree itself adds to the allure. But beyond the twinkling Christmas tree lights and towering spruce, there’s a deeper significance.

Rockefeller tree lighting 2024

Since 2007, the lumber from the Rockefeller Christmas tree has been donated to Habitat for Humanity, transforming the symbol of holiday cheer into homes for those in need. This blend of community, celebration, and charity is what makes the Rockefeller tree lighting a cherished yearly event, illuminating not just the city, but also the true spirit of the season.

Rockefeller Christmas Tree
Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Rockefeller Tree Selection Process

Choosing the iconic Rockefeller Christmas tree is a meticulous process. The search begins almost a year in advance, with the center’s head gardener scouting for the perfect Norway Spruce across the Northeastern United States. The tree must meet certain criteria – it should be at least 75 feet tall and 45 feet in diameter, with a robust and symmetrical appearance.

Rockefeller Building
Rockefeller Building

When the ideal tree is found, it stays in its original location until November. The tree is then carefully cut and transported to Manhattan, a journey that often requires police escorts and specialized trailers. Once it arrives at Rockefeller Center, it’s decorated with thousands of Christmas tree lights, ready to bring holiday cheer to New York City. This rigorous selection and journey ensure each Christmas tree embodies the magic and spirit of the season.

The Lighting Ceremony; Shine Brighter, Feel Merrier

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony typically begins with live performances from top celebrities, creating an atmosphere of joy and anticipation. Over the years, the ceremony, a highlight of the Rockefeller tree lighting, has seen appearances from world-renowned artists, adding an extra sparkle to the festivities at the Rockefeller Center.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

As the crowd swells with excitement, the moment everyone has been waiting for arrives. A special guest is given the honor to light the Rockefeller tree. Thousands of energy-efficient LED Christmas tree lights strung on five miles of wire burst into a dazzling display, topped by a brilliant Swarovski star. This magical moment, accompanied by collective gasps and cheers from the crowd, marks the official beginning of the holiday season in the city.

Impact on New York City During the Holiday Season

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree enhances both the economic vitality and cultural richness of New York City during the festive season. Economically, this Christmas lighting draws tourists from around the world, boosting local businesses and the hospitality industry. Hotels, restaurants, and retail stores in the vicinity of the Rockefeller Center see a significant surge in customers, contributing to the city’s economy.


Culturally, the Christmas tree serves as a beacon, promoting the holiday spirit and community gathering. The Christmas tree lighting Rockefeller ceremony fosters a sense of unity and joy among New Yorkers and visitors alike, symbolizing the start of the holiday season. The tree lighting becomes a meeting point for friends and families, making memories under its dazzling Christmas tree lights.

How to Experience the Tree Lighting

Experiencing the Rockefeller Center tree lighting is a unique and memorable occasion. If you’re planning to attend the Christmas tree lighting in person, it’s advisable to arrive early as the space at the Rockefeller Center fills up quickly. Dress warmly and prepare for potential weather changes. Comfortable footwear is essential as you might need to stand for several hours.

Rockefeller Tree Lighting 2023
Rockefeller Tree Lighting 2023

For those unable to make it in person, the tree-lighting event is usually broadcast live on national television. You can tune into the designated channel to enjoy the Christmas tree lighting Rockefeller ceremony from the comfort of your own home. The broadcast typically includes celebrity performances, behind-the-scenes coverage, and the much-anticipated moment when they light the Rockefeller tree. Whether you choose to brave the crowds or watch from home, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting is an event that encapsulates the joy and wonder of the holiday season.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony


The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting is more than a tradition; it’s a symbol of unity, hope, and holiday cheer that has endured for generations. Its magic lies in its ability to connect people from all walks of life, creating a shared experience that transcends borders. As we welcome another holiday season, I encourage you to embrace this beautiful tradition. Whether you’re standing amidst the crowd in New York or watching the spectacle unfold on your screen, let the tree’s radiant glow ignite your festive spirit and become part of your own holiday story.

Avatar for Bethany James

Bethany James

Dog mom. Independent woman. Lover of life. I’m a firm believer that one shouldn’t simply wait around for opportunities to appear, they should be created. Writing is an expression of the soul, so let me share my soul with you!

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