Many towns big and small have a special Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony to start the holiday season, either late in November or in early December. Below are some stand-out Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies. If you're visiting NYC, DC, Boston, or Chicago on the right date, be sure to take your kids to watch the Christmas Tree light up.
NYC: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Typically this Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the end of November is televised and the Radio City Rockettes entertain. Also, ice skaters perform in the nearby Rockefeller Ice Rink.
Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
This tradition is now in its 95th year; highlights include the Chicago Children's Choir, characters from A Christmas Carol, Santa Claus, and 90-foot Christmas tree.
Washington DC: The National Christmas Tree, at the White House
The light-up, by the President, of this large tree near the White House starts a 3-week long Pageant of Peace in December through January 1st. Visitors can see the National Christmas Tree, smaller trees representing the US states and territories, model trains, Yule log; musical performances, too, during much of December.
See also lots more Christmas Tree Lightings in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
Boston has several tree-lighting ceremonies, including one for Boston's official Christmas tree, an annual gift from Nova Scotia with decades of history.
Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting: on Thanksgiving evening, thousands gather as Santa lights up more than half a million holiday lights and 80 holiday trees along the Boulevard. Also: musical stage performances; strolling holiday characters; fireworks.
State Capitals take their Christmas Tree light-ups seriously, too. Austin, TX, for example has a Capital Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 1 with carols, and a stroll downtown where stores and restaurants offer live music and free eats. Likewise in Columbus OH, the official State Christmas Tree lighting lights up the entire Capitol Square; singers, a choir, tours and a reception add to the festivities.