Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting is a fantastic and festive event that takes place each year in New York City. Children and adults are sure to have a wonderful time watching one of the world’s largest Christmas trees spark to life with thousands of twinkling lights and colored ornaments. As New York City is one of the best places in the world to celebrate the upcoming holidays, families may wish to consider planning a vacation to this bustling metropolis. In addition to this wonderful tree lighting event, there are dozens of other equally festive and exciting activities and attractions taking place in New York this Christmas season.

Families who have an interest in scheduling their New York City vacations to coincide with the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting should be sure that they are in Manhattan on Wednesday, November 30. At 7 p.m. on this special night, the tree will be lit up for the first time this year. Several different singing groups, musical acts and entertainers will put on performances for the crowd, with festivities scheduled to continue until at least 9 p.m. While individuals should be able to see the enormous tree from quite a distance, those who wish to truly experience the Christmas magic may wish to get as close to Rockefeller Plaza as possible. Travelers should be able to enter the plaza from West 48th and 51st Streets, as well as from 5th and 6th Avenue.

Although the Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center officially became an annual tradition in 1933, the celebration actually began a few years before that. During the Great Depression, when Rockefeller Plaza was in the process of being built, construction workers on the project set up a 20-foot-tall fir tree and decorated it with garlands of cranberries, berries and tinsel. Today, the Christmas tree typically stands an incredible 80 feet tall, and is wound with as many as 30,000 lights attached to 5 miles of wiring. In order to get everything ready in time for the annual lighting ceremony, workers begin scoping out spruce and fir trees in Connecticut, Vermont, Ohio and even Ottawa, Ontario, by helicopter early in the season. Once the tree is finally chosen, transported to Manhattan, decorated and lit, it will stay up until the week after New Years Day, when it is taken down and recycled.