‘Christmas in Rockefeller Center’ with Dolly Parton: Where, When, and How to Watch

by Emily Morgan
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The TV Christmas specials are the gift that keeps on giving this year. On Monday, CMA aired their holiday special, “CMA Country Christmas,” and tonight, the fun continues. The “Christmas in Rockefeller Center TV special will air on Dec. 2 on NBC starting at 7 p.m. CST. 

Performances from Dan + Shay, Brett Eldredge, Gwen Stefani, and country queen Dolly Parton will help kick off the Christmas festivities. In addition to performances, the special will celebrate the 88th annual lighting of the 75-foot Christmas tree. The event will take place in the historic Rockefeller Center. 

Additional performers include the iconic Radio City Rockettes, the Goo Goo Dolls, Earth, Wind & Fire, Kelly Clarkson, Jimmy Fallon, Leslie Odom Jr., Pentatonix, Meghan Trainor, Tori Kelly, and the cast of Ain’t Too Proud. 

Artists including Kelly Clarkson, Dolly Parton, Pentatonix, Gwen Stefani and Meghan Trainor will perform off-site, while the other artists will perform in the original NYC location. 

In addition to solo performances, the evening will also include multiple duets. Kelly Clarkson and Brett Eldredge are scheduled to sing together along with Dolly Parton and Jimmy Fallon, and Meghan Trainor with Earth, Wind & Fire.

Parton hasn’t made an appearance at the annual event since 2016. This year she’s headlining the Christmas special. 

The Tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree

For more than eight decades, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has stood as a holiday symbol for New Yorkers and visitors. While the lights, decorations, and stars have changed through the years, visiting the tree remains a unique experience.

In Dec. of 1933, Rockefeller Center decided to make the Christmas Tree an annual tradition and held the first tree lighting ceremony. In the 1950s, workers began using scaffolding to assist in decorating trees. The process required 20 men and a period of nine days to finalize the tree. 

In 2004, the first 550-pound Swarovski Star was placed on top of the tree. It featured 25,000 crystals and 1 million facets and was 9.5 feet in diameter. 

Today, the 72-foot-tall tree has a new Swarovski Star, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. The 9-foot-4-inch topper, backlit by LEDs, features 3 million dazzling Swarovski crystals.

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