Paul Zimmerman/WireImage
Rita Kokshanian
Dec 03, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas—or at least it will come 8 p.m. tonight in New York City.

That's when the gigantic Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center lights up for the holiday season. The annual tree lighting, which has been going on since the Great Depression in 1933, is one of the most anticipated holiday traditions, not only in the Big Apple, but also for the viewers who tune in to see the extravaganza all over the country on NBC each year. And in case you crave something more extravagant than a tree lighting—albeit a 85-foot-tall tree lighting—this year's ceremony will feature some pretty amazing extras. Read on for five reasons why we can't wait to watch!

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1. What better way to kick off this timeless holiday tradition than with an equally timeless song? Mariah Carey will open the tree lighting ceremony with "All I Want for Christmas Is You," which we can all agree may be the best Christmas song ever.

2. In addition to Carey, a host of other stars will take the stage for the event: Idina Menzel, Darius Rucker, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Seth MacFarlane, Sara Bareilles, and LeAnn Rimes are just a few of the other performers.

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3. As usual, this year's tree is huge. The Norway Spruce from Hemlock Township, Pa., is 85-feet tall, weighs 13 tons, and is approximately 90 years old.

4. Tonight's show isn't only about this one tree, however. NBCUniversal's Green Is Universal and the Arbor Day Foundation will kick off their holiday "Share a Tree" campaign during tonight's broadcast. For every tweet, "like," share, or comment using the #shareatree hashtag, the Arbor Day Foundation will plant one tree, up to one million. Talk about giving back in a big way!

"Christmas in Rockefeller Center" special airs on NBC tonight at 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. central.

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