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Image / Editorial

Christmas in New York: The famous Rockefeller tree is officially lit


By Grace McGettigan
29th Nov 2018
Christmas in New York: The famous Rockefeller tree is officially lit

The annual Rockefeller Centre tree lighting ceremony kicked off the Christmas season in New York City last night.

The 72-foot Norway spruce is decked out with 50,000 colourful lights, which will shine from 5:30 am – 11:30 pm daily until January 7. The only exception is Christmas Day, when the lights will remain lit for 24 hours.

Related: The White House unveils its Christmas decorations 

What’s more, the tree is topped with an impressive 9 ft 4-inch star designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. The star is adorned in three million Swarovski crystals and weighs a whopping 900 pounds.

According to the Rockefeller Centre, the 75-year-old tree was donated by a couple in Wallkill, a town located 60 miles north of New York City.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Rockefeller Center (@rockcenternyc) on

The ceremony

Thousands of spectators gathered to watch Mayor Bill de Blasio flip the switch; followed by a festive musical performance from Tony Bennett, Pentatonix and Diana Ross. With limited space available at the Rockefeller Plaza, the entire ceremony was televised on NBC to avoid disappointment.

Other celebrity appearances include Howie Mandel, host of America’s Deal or No Deal; ventriloquist Darci Lynne with her puppet Petunia; the Rockettes, and country singer Kellie Pickler.

 

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A post shared by Ms Ross ? (@dianaross) on

What happens the tree after Christmas?

When the tree is taken down, it will be donated to Habitat for Humanity; a nonprofit organisation helping communities build homes around the world.

For the twelfth year in a row, the tree will be milled; treated, and made into lumber that is used for home building. “Each year, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree continues to be a symbol of hope,” organisers said. “It inspired the children’s book, The Carpenter’s Gift, written by David Rubel and illustrated by Jim LaMarche in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity.”

Photo: Rockefeller Centre via Instagram