'Tis the Season: The Definitive Guide to Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies in NYC

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Christmas trees have been used to signify the celebratory holiday season for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of evergreen firs to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as they reminded them that the spring would come.

The Romans used Fir Trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia and Christians used them as a sign of everlasting life with God.

In New York City? We use giant, towering Christmas trees to signify the warmth of the holiday season.

In NYC, our decadent, enormous Christmas trees represent inclusion, giving, and all-out holiday cheer. The 104 fir trees on Park Avenue are lit to celebrate all who died in World War II, and every other tree is lit to celebrate the sanctity of NYC's public spaces.

Isn't that the most amazing thing about NYC? How stunning we can make our public spaces?

In NYC, some of our Christmas trees are as tall as our skyscrapers, and every bit as pretty. Read on to find out where and when you can attend NYC's time-old Christmas tree lighting ceremonies.


1. Zuccotti Park Holiday Lighting (December 1st)

heatherdarlyn #nyc #newyorknewyork #newyorcity #newyork #libertystreet #zuccottipark #night #lights


Zuccotti Park, located in Lower Manhattan between Broadway and Liberty Street, is turning up for the holidays.

Its holiday lighting ceremony is going down on December 1st from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. with live music from the Metropolitan Klezmer and Cara Samantha. 

There will also be sweet treats, and thousands of brilliant holiday lights.

Will the Zuccotti Park Holiday Lighting be festive? Yes. Will there be enchanting string instruments, holiday music, and the stunning illumination of Zuccotti Park's Christmas tree? Absolutely. 

Kick December off right with this completely festive, brightly lit evening.


2. South Street Seaport Tree Lighting (December 1st)

january_diaries First lighting of the Xmas tree #lighttheseaport


On the first day of the most festive month, you'll have the chance to witness the 32nd Annual Seaport Tree Lighting, hosted this year by Lauren Scala of NBC 4 New York.

The lighting will feature the lighting of a 60-foot Christmas tree, in addition to several breathtaking musical performances.

Performances include: a cappella group, The Mistletoes, gospel youth group Livre, Connell Cruise, the Mariners' Temple Baptist Church Choir, American Idol Winner Nick Fradiani, and of course, Santa. We mean, what would a tree lighting ceremony be without Santa?

From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., you'll get the chance to snag photos with Santa. At 5 p.m., the Mistletoes will sing out the pre show, then, at 6 p.m., the whole shebang will kick off.

Want to get really festive for this year's holiday season? Then get to 19 Fulton Street on December 1st for the South Street Seaport Tree Lighting Ceremony.


3. Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting (December 2nd)

themiththelegendjoeyj The big tree gets lit this week favorite part of the holidays in the city #nyc #rockefellercenterchristmastree #JetUp ๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ—ฝโœˆโ˜


On December 2nd, Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree will blare out stunning, enchanting, colorful lights for the 83rd year in a row. Isn't part of the allure of living in NYC that we get to be a part of Christmas history?

Plus, on the real, the Rockefeller Center's Christmas Tree is arguably the prettiest tree in the city. It's certainly the most impressive in size. So, come out to the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting. It's free, and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

Thousands crowd the sidewalk between West 48th and West 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues every year, while hundreds of millions more watch the event on TV. 

This year's ceremony will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., but since we expect a mob, we'd suggest getting there much earlier if you want to, you know, actually be able to see all the amazing performances.


4. Central Park Holiday Lighting (December 3rd)

nycgo A flotilla of 17 evergreen trees lit for the holidays on the Harlem Meer. (photo: @camilleschaer ) #harlem #harlemmeer #centralpark #nyc #nycgo #welcometonewyork #w2ny #winter #nycwinter #holiday #nycstyle


The Dana Holiday Lighting is hands down one of the city's most stunning. It takes places beside the Harlem Meer, and will go down this year on December 3rd from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues in Central Park.

Were you looking to meet Santa? Watch a live ice craving demonstration? Sing carols on the plaza and warm up with hot cocoa and cookies? This event will have all that, plus it'll conclude with the lighting of a flotilla of trees on the Harlem Meer.

Also, it's free and practically a Christmastime in NYC requisite, since it's bound to be absolutely gorgeous.


5. Astoria Park Holiday Tree Lighting (December 5th)

rena.lume always drawn back to the water


Christmastime in Queens? That must mean it's just about time for the Astoria Park Holiday Tree Lighting.

This bundle of light will be an all-day event, stretching from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 5th. Do you want to spend the best day of the week waist-deep in holiday cheer? We know we do.

There will be train rides, marshmallow toasting, holiday performances, and, of course, the tree lighting which will take place at 4:30 p.m. at 19th Street and 23rd Avenue.

Come be a part of the holiday festivities. Come jump in the gingerbread bouncy house, sing some carols, and marvel at that ginormous tree.

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