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NBC’s ‘Christmas in Rockefeller Center’ Special Returns December 2

NBC’s ‘Christmas in Rockefeller Center’ Special Returns December 2

NBC is ringing in the holiday season with its iconic “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” special on Wednesday, December 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. 

The special will include performances by Kelly Clarkson, Goo Goo Dolls, Earth, Wind & Fire, Brett Eldredge, Jimmy Fallon, Tori Kelly, Leslie Odom Jr., Dolly Parton, Pentatonix, Dan + Shay, Gwen Stefani, and Meghan Trainor. The evening includes a special holiday treat with Clarkson and Eldredge performing together, along with duets featuring Parton and Fallon, and Trainor and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame supergroup Earth, Wind & Fire. The cast from the Tony Award-winning hit Ain’t Too Proud will perform a musical number and the Radio City Rockettes will also make an appearance.

NBC News’ TODAY co-anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin, and Al Roker will host.

“Every year our viewers look forward to NBC’s iconic tree-lighting ceremony,” said Doug Vaughan, Executive Vice President, Special Programs, NBC Entertainment. “There’s something special about kicking off the holiday season with such an awe-inspiring event.”

The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dates back to 1931 during the Great Depression. The first official tree-lighting ceremony occurred two years later in 1933 in front of the then eight-month-old RCA Building (the current Comcast 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.

The 88th annual holiday special will celebrate the lighting of a 75-foot tall, 45-foot wide Norway Spruce from Oneonta, N.Y. The tree weighs approximately 11 tons. It will be adorned with more than 50,000 multi-colored LEDs and will be topped with a stunning Swarovski star.

NBCUniversal will continue its partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation for the 12th year in a row to support tree-planting efforts across the United States. For each of the 50,000 bulbs decorating the Spruce, NBCUniversal will plant a tree in areas that have been affected by wildfires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. This ongoing partnership is an important annual tradition that has helped to restore forests for future generations to enjoy. 

After the tree leaves Rockefeller Center, it will be milled into lumber for donation to Habitat for Humanity and used to build homes in the region.

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While the holidays are a time of celebration, there are also many families who are facing extraordinary challenges. At key moments throughout the night, viewers will have the opportunity to donate to Red Nose Day in support of children and families facing hunger and food insecurity this holiday season. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 1 in 4 children in the U.S., or around 18 million, have faced food insecurity in 2020 and may not know where their next meal will come from – a critical issue that has been significantly worsened by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Money raised during the broadcast will support programs providing meals to children and families as well as helping to address child hunger and long-term food insecurity both domestically and internationally.

With health and safety the highest concern, there will be no public access to the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center. The public is invited to view the live national broadcast “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” from home on NBC.

“Christmas in Rockefeller Center” is produced by the Emmy Award-winning Brad Lachman Productions. Brad Lachman serves as executive producer, Bill Bracken will co-executive produce and Debbie Palacio directs.

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