2021 Rockefeller Christmas tree: Watch the lighting ceremony

The New York Rockefeller Center’s iconic Christmas tree has arrived at its new home, and it’s ready to razzle-dazzle. The 80-year-old, 79-foot-tall Norway spruce was shipped from Elkton, Maryland, and will be lit on December 1 in a festive ceremony broadcast across the globe, which will deck the pine tree with more than 50,000 multi-colored bulbs and an architect-crafted Swarovski star topper, studded with 3 million crystals. The grandeur and scale of it all is hard to fathom. The tree itself weighs 12 tons, and the star adds another 900 pounds; the whole thing will be strung with nearly 5 miles of LED lights. (After the holidays, the tree will be milled into beams of lumber used as floors and ceilings in Habitat for Humanity houses.)

This season, Rockefeller’s Christmas celebration is back in full force, after a spare year in 2020 when crowds were banned from gathering and visitors who reserved spots in a virtual line were given just 5 minutes to gaze at the tree. While last year’s tree—which was limper and sparser-spruced than usual—was ridiculed as a sign of the times, this year’s pick symbolizes a comeback, all fluffy and lush, according to early reports.

That calls for a bash, which is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. EST Wednesday live from the plaza—fittingly, home of broadcaster NBC—and will include performances from country singers Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, as well as jazz artists Harry Connick Jr. and Norah Jones. Here’s how to tune in to the 89th year of the annual holiday tradition (kicked off in 1931!):

If you have cable:

  • The “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” live special will air on the NBC channel and NBC-owned TV affiliates.
  • It will also be available to stream on the NBC website and app, as well as NBC’s Peacock.

If you’re a cord-cutter:

  • NBC broadcasts also come bundled with several streaming services, including Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, fubo TV, and AT&T TV.
  • If you don’t have any of those subscriptions, many offer free trials, including Hulu + Live TV (7 days) and YouTube TV (7 days).