If NBC’s vying to win Christmas this year, they’re certainly doing a good job of lining up points. The Peacock will broadcast the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is arguably the holiday season’s official kick-off event. But some people don’t consider it to be the holiday season until that big tree in Rockefeller Center is lit, and wouldn’t you know it? NBC’s broadcasting that as well. The network announced some of the details for the annual event, including a list of celebrities set to perform.
Christmas in Rockefeller Center is set to air Wednesday, December 4 at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC. According to the network’s official announcement, the star-studded holiday special will be hosted by Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Marales. And set to perform at the event is Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Goo Goo Dolls, Ariana Grande and Jewel. Anyone else having a major 90’s flashback right now?
NBC says this year’s tree is a 76-foot Norway Spruce that is 47 feet in diameter and weighs approximately 12 tons. That’s a lot of tree. It’s estimated to be 75 years old, which is actually only 6 years younger than the tree lighting ceremony, which is celebrating its 81st anniversary. As for the lights, there are more than 45,000 energy-efficient multi-colored LED lights set to be strung around the tree. And we have Swarovski to thank for the 9 1/2 foot wide LED-lit crystal star. Here’s a little more history on the tree-lighting ceremony:
The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dates back to the Great Depression. First erected in 1933, the inaugural tree was decked with 700 lights and placed in front of the then eight-month-old RCA Building (the current GE Building). The Christmas tree gathering was enhanced in 1936 with the opening of the Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice-skating pond. NBC-TV televised the tree lighting for the first time in 1951 on “The Kate Smith Show” and as part of the nationwide “Howdy Doody” television show from 1953-55.
So just to keep track, for those of you who are trying to organize all of this fine family holiday fun, NBC has the Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28. Then the tree-lighting ceremony on Wednesday, December 4. And then Thursday, December 5, NBC will air The Sound of Music Live!, the live broadcast of the popular musical The Sound of Music, which stars Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer. Next up, it’s the return of NBC’s a cappella singing competition The Sing-Off, which airs Monday, December 9.
On Tuesday, December 11 at 10:00 p.m., Kelly Clarkson’s Cautionary Christmas Music Tale, a special described as a comedic musical take on a traditional Christmas morality tale. In addition to Clarkson, the special will feature appearances by Blake Shelton, Reba and Trisha Yearwood, as well as Jay Leno, Matt Lauer, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, William Shatner, Danica Patrick, Heidi Klum, Ken Jeong and Jai Rodriguez. Music off Kelly’s new Christmas album “Wrapped in Red” will be featured.
It’s A Wonderful Life will air Saturday, December 14 (and again on Christmas Eve). And then on Wednesday, December 18, NBC will air the 3rd Annual Michael Buble Christmas special.