Our fingers are crossed for a white Christmas later this month, but you don’t have to wait until then to get in on the holiday spirit. New York residents and eager fans from across the globe will soon line up to witness the 83rd Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, which kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. ET on NBC.
The highly anticipated event first occurred in 1933 and has since brought us some of the most memorable pop culture moments to date. In addition to the megawatt tree that’s always sourced with care, the ceremony also welcomes heavy hitting stars that unsurprisingly nail their best holiday-themed jingles. Last year, Mariah Carey opened the event by belting out her famous “All I Want for Christmas Is You” hit, while other performers included Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Sara Bareilles, and Idina Menzel. And though you may not be in the Big Apple for the star-studded affair, here are four reasons to tune in to the tree lighting ceremony.
1. As expected, this year’s tree tops the charts at a whopping 78-feet-tall, making for the perfect Instagram shot. The ’76 Norway Spruce was donated by the Asendorf and Puchalski families in Gardiner, New York, and has been adorned with 45,000 energy efficient LED lights set to shine bright this evening.
2. Today show fans, rejoice! Everyone’s favorite morning crew is on hand to play co-hosts to the two-hour long program. So who’s set for the gig? Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, and Natalie Morales, of course.
3. The tree lighting is a spectacle in and of itself, but don’t think its purpose is just to spread cheer and be a pretty backdrop for photos. For the ninth year, it will be milled and turned into lumber, which Habitat for Humanity uses to help build homes for those in need.
4. In addition to the green and multi-colored centerpiece, expect unforgettable performances. Sting, Pentatonix, Andy Grammer and New York City’s very own Rockettes will take the stage in addition to Mary J. Blige, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Band Perry, Andrea Bocelli, Band of Merrymakers, and James Taylor, with celebrated trumpeter Chris Botti.