This year marks the 81st lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas tree in New York City. The tradition began as early as 1931 with a tree being erected by construction workers who were working on the Rockefeller Centre. The tree was a humble 20 feet tall in comparison to this year’s 76 foot tall tree. The official lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas tree began in 1933 and was interestingly enough broadcast over radio. The lighting of the tree continues to be shared across the United States by a live broadcast by NBC.
To learn more about it’s history, and of the Rockefeller Center, you can read Daniel Okrent’s book, Great fortune: the epic of Rockefeller Center, or read History Television’s article here.