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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lights Up

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It's an unmistakable sign that's it's officially Christmas time in the city: the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting.

Forty-five-thousand multi-colored lights adorned the 76-foot-tall Norway Spruce that's topped with a nine-foot-wide Swarovski star.

Wednesday's ceremony was televised live with performances from Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey and the high-kicking Rockettes.

The 80-year tradition draws New Yorkers, tourists and celebrities every year.

"When they light that tree up, it's unbelievable," said John Rzeznik, the lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls. "New York around Christmas time is like magic."

"It's really fun," said NBC host Savannah Guthrie. "You cannot help but get in the spirit just to be part of something that I think we all watched growing up."

"It was pretty cool," said one person who was at the tree lighting. "It was like nothing I've ever seen before."

"It's a yearly tradition. We just come here every year," said another.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg had the honor of flipping the switch.

NBC dedicated the broadcast to James Lovell, the light and sound engineer who died in the Metro-North derailment on Sunday. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP