It’s the most wonderful (and lit) time of the year, with the 75-ft.-tall Rockefeller Center Christmas tree ready to shine its 50,000-plus multicolored LED lights and Swarovski crystal star.
The holidays begin in the heart of New York City with the annual tree lighting ceremony that has been a tradition since 1931, and a live televised tradition since 1951. Even if folks can’t gather ’round the Christmas tree for the monumental celebration, that doesn’t mean they can’t delight in it from the comfort of their homes.
Kelly Clarkson and Brett Eldredge, Meghan Trainor and Earth, Wind & Fire, and Dolly Parton and Jimmy Fallon are partnering up for one hour of special Christmastime performances at the tree lighting ceremony.
Clarkson and Eldredge recorded a duet this year titled “Under the Mistletoe,” while Trainor and Earth, Wind & Fire recorded “Holidays” for her 2020 holiday project A Very Trainor Christmas. Parton and Fallon covered Mariah Carey‘s classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You” from her 2020 album A Holly Dolly Christmas.
Other performers include The Goo Goo Dolls, Tori Kelly, Leslie Odom Jr., Pentatonix, Dan + Shay, Gwen Stefani, the cast of the Tony-winning Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud and the Radio City Rockettes.
The “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” special will air on Wednesday, Dec. 2 from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC, with TODAY Show anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and Al Roker hosting the festivities. Access Hollywood‘s Mario Lopez, NBC4 New York Natalie Pasquarella and David Ushery will host the hour-long performances from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. on all NBC stations and affiliates.
Even though the Center Plaza is closed to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic, locals and visitors can safely gather at the Christmas tree starting Thursday, Dec. 3 until early January 2021. The state of New York and NYC-approved social distancing and crowd control guidelines for the tree viewing, which also requires mask-wearing and groups with four or more members splitting up into pods.
The Norway spruce in Rockefeller Center will be lit from 6:00 a.m. ET to midnight every day and will remain lit for 24 hours on Christmas Day.