The holiday season in NYC only truly starts once the Rockefeller Christmas Tree has been set up and its lights have been lit. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting is an event in and of itself and has been a longstanding tradition since 1933 when the first Christmas tree was put up in front of the Rockefeller Center.
Many agree that although it is winter in New York City, the Holiday season does not start until the legendary tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center Plaza has taken place. Last year, the Tree Lighting Ceremony was highlighted with spectacular performances by Lady Gaga, Maria Carey, Tony Bennett, and the Rockettes (a NYC dance group that also presented the Radio City Christmas Spectacular).
Around 8:00pm on November 30th of each year, the huge Christmas Tree is illuminated with over 50,000 lights. The turnout for this event gets bigger every year and with it the atmosphere gets even better. The cheer that goes through the crowd as the lights begin to sparkle is amazing and creates an atmosphere that along with the performances beforehand makes the evening a very special one. Shining brightly with thousands of lights, the Christmas tree becomes the center piece of the Rockefeller Plaza for the next month. With its popularity and all the buzz around its ceremony that brings christmas to NYC, there is little information about the tree and where it comes from. Here we have compiled a list of the top 10 facts about the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
Of course, everything is super-sized in New York City. The Christmas tree is no exception and the famous Norway Spruce comes in at a height of 85 feet.
The sparkling tree weighs gigantic 13 tons.
The tree branches are lit with approx. 50,000 LED lights which need nearly 7 miles of electrical wire! That’s enough wire to span once around the circumference of central park!
The only thing that could possibly outdo the thousands of lights is the sparkling Christmas star tree topper. It is made from 25,000 real Swarvoski crystals and was not cheap. If you are thinking of one for your christmas tree at home, you will have to shell out a minimum of $ 1.5 million.
The spruce grew for 90 years to have the honour of being the center piece of NYC’s beginning to the holiday season. The first tree lighting ceremony dates to 1933 meaning the tree is older than the ceremony itself.
The tree is from Oneonta, NY, which is 171 miles from Rockefeller Plaza. The tree will be cut down on Nov. 10 and will arrive in midtown Manhattan on Nov. 12.
— Rockefeller Center (@rockcenternyc) October 31, 2016
On average, the Christmas tree gets 500,000 visitors a day! That comes to a total of 18 million Christmas visitors during its time as the centerpiece of Rockefeller Plaza.
The tree consumes an incredible 1,297 kilowatt hours per day. These come in large part from solar cells installed at Rockefeller Center. A good thing – I don’t think anyone wants to pay that power bill!
Once the lights are turned off in January, the wood of the tree is donated to charity. For many years, it was mulched and then spread throughout New York’s parks. But then doors and door frames were made from the wood and donated to those in need. Sometimes the tree was also turned into paper.
No surprises here – the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza is something you need to take a picture of. Standing there in its whole beauty the tree is THE photo to take in New York during the Christmas season.
You will be able to see the tree in all its glory until January 7, 2017. The Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for November 30th, 2016. (Address: Rockefeller Plaza / Midtown West) Check out other events for the month of December here.