Tree Lighting Times at Rockefeller Center

If you are residing outside the State of New York, you will be checking a year or more in advance to find out the tree lighting times for Rockefeller Center. This way, you and your family can go about reserving hotels & reserving flights before both rates increase through the roof and availability on the dates you need decreases.

Fortunately, it is very easy to tell when the times are as the week that immediately follows the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York at 8:55 PM EST is the tentative time selected for the annual lighting ceremony of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

If one can not be at the Rockefeller Center during the annual ceremony, they can see it illuminated on NBC television stations for about five (5) minutes from 8:55 PM EST to 9:00 PM EST, replays during the nightly news, file sharing websites online.

If you plan to carry your still or video cameras and camera equipment to the Rockefeller Center area, be sure to note the camera restrictions that are imposed on guests during and after their visit. Not following the rules correctly could have you and them removed from the ceremony and photo images and or video footage removed from file sharing sites for infringement.

The use of tripods are not permitted at Rockefeller Center and Rockefeller Center possesses trademark rights with respect to certain images commonly associated with Rockefeller Center (e.g., the Christmas Tree, Atlas, Prometheus) and these images may not be used without the express consent of either RCPI Landmark Properties, L.L.C., or Tishman Speyer Properties, and must also be properly identified as trademarked property.

To see the tree in person starting with the 7:00 PM EST performances leading up to the lighting ceremony, you are to be at Rockefeller Center as early as 12:00 PM EST (with clothing and footwear that will keep you comfortable in November or December’s weather) to avoid being blocked by street traffic and other visitors from across the street as it is one of the most loved tree lighting ceremonies in New York.

After the ceremony night, all visitors are able to see the tree illuminated for a period of five (5) weeks between the hours of 5:30 AM EST – 11:30 PM EST. On Christmas Day, it is illuminated for 24 hours for all locals and visitors of New York to enjoy then on New Years Eve, (December 31st) it is shut off earlier (before 9:00 PM EST) to put more emphasis on the lowering of the New Year’s Eve ball in Times Square.

The fifth week following the annual lighting ceremony is unfortunately the last week to see the tree illuminated as the in the week, the tree will be taken down and recycled. The annual Christmas Tree Recycling allows The Boys Scouts of America to earn credits for Summer Camp, participation in high-adventure outing, vouchers for outdoor gear, as well as financing the Troop budget, horse jumping obstacles for the United States Equestrian Team and other benefactors. To date, the tallest Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center was a 100-foot, 2-inch (30 m) spruce erected on Thursday, November 11, 1999 that was being cared for by Cathy and Jim Thomson of Killingworth, CT.

Erected: – This is the day the “holiday” tree will be erected after being trucked in.
Ceremony: – This is the first day the “holiday” tree will be illuminated.
Final: – This is the last day the “holiday” tree will be illuminated.
Recycle: – This is the day the “holiday” tree will be prepared for recycling.

Tentative: Tentative times are used through mid-October as the tree has to be selected by the Gardens Division of Rockefeller Center, prepared for cutting, transport from its location in CT, NJ or NY via truck to Rockefeller Center then dressed with lights for the ceremony. For the safety of the public, the times are subject to change.
Confirmed: Confirmed times are used during the year in the month of October when safety, weather conditions will not be a factor and tree requirements have been met.

2008: 76th Annual Ceremony
Erected: Friday, November 14, 2008 (Confirmed)
Ceremony: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 (Confirmed)
Final: Friday, January 9, 2009 (Confirmed)
Recycle: Saturday, January 10, 2009 (Confirmed)

2009: 77th Annual Ceremony
Erected: Thursday, November 12, 2009 (Confirmed)
Ceremony: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 (Confirmed)
Final: Thursday, January 7, 2010 (Confirmed)
Recycle: Friday, January 8, 2010 (Confirmed)

2010: 78th Annual Ceremony
Erected: Friday, November 12, 2010 (Confirmed)
Ceremony: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 (Confirmed)
Final: Friday, January 7, 2011 (Confirmed)
Recycle: Saturday, January 8, 2011 (Confirmed)

2011: 79th Annual Ceremony
Erected: Friday, November 11, 2011 (Confirmed)
Ceremony: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 (Confirmed)
Final: Friday, January 6, 2012 (Confirmed)
Recycle: Saturday, January 7, 2012 (Confirmed)

2012: 80th Annual Ceremony
Erected: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 (Confirmed)
Ceremony: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 (Confirmed)
Final: Monday, January 7, 2013 (Confirmed)
Recycle: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 (Confirmed)

2013: 81st Annual Ceremony
Erected: Friday, November 8, 2013 (Tentative)
Ceremony: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 (Tentative)
Final: Friday, January 3, 2014 (Tentative)
Recycle: Saturday, January 4, 2014 (Tentative)

2014: 82nd Annual Ceremony
Erected: Friday, November 7, 2014 (Tentative)
Ceremony: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 (Tentative)
Final: Friday, January 2, 2015 (Tentative)
Recycle: Saturday, January 3, 2015 (Tentative)

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About The Author: Stephan Pringle is an Information Technology Specialist. He covers hardware and software and provide tips for you to troubleshoot and repair issues on your own. In his spare time, he writes articles about the State of New York and is the top contributor of the New York City section of Yahoo! Answers.

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