(Last Updated On: November 26, 2018)

Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting - Changes AnnuallyROCKEFELLER CENTER TREE LIGHTING

The date of the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in New York City changes annually.

Every year since 1933, an evergreen tree plucked from its spot in New York or Vermont, Ohio or Pennsylvania or even Canada, is erected at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.  It is trimmed with hundreds of ornaments and thousands of colorful lights and topped with a star and on a selected day after Thanksgiving, is lit for the world to see.

The tree must exceed 65 feet to be selected for the honor of gracing Rockefeller Center. The tallest tree selected was a 100 foot Norway Spruce from Killingworth, Connecticut.

Each year the tree is donated to various organizations.  In years past, the tree has been ground into mulch and donated to the Boy Scouts of America to be sold to fund projects.  Recently, Habitat for Humanity has been a benefactor of the great tree for use in the construction of homes.

The tree remains lit until the Christian feast of the Epiphany.


Visit Rockefeller Center or watch the lighting from the comfort of your home. Use #RockefellerCenterTreeLighting to post on social media.


The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony has become a national tradition hearkening back to the days of the Great Depression. On Christmas Eve of 1931, a group of construction workers erected a small, Spruce Christmas tree on the site of what would become Rockefeller Center. In Rockefeller Center’s inaugural year, 1933, the first official Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting took place.  Since then it has become a national event including skating pageants,  live entertainment and television specials.

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