The tree is seen during the 81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in New York. Reuters

The Christmas countdown has already begun, with the day after Thanksgiving serving as the unofficial start to the Christmas season. However the lighting of the massive Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center lets everyone in New York and the city’s surrounding neighborhoods that the yuletide season is in full swing. Tonight, the huge tree will be lit during the 82nd annual extravaganza “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” and will feature performances from several popular artists, Mariah Carey will start the show with a festive rendition of her holiday hit “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

The holiday event will be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 8 p.m., hosted by “TODAY” show anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales. In addition to Carey’s performance, The Rockettes who normally reside nearby at Radio City Music Hall will be making an appearance alongside Darius Rucker, before returning across the street to continue with performances of Radio City’s “Christmas Spectacular,” another Christmas in New York favorite. Joining on the holiday fun is Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, Cyndi Lauper featuring Billy Porter, Seth McFarland featuring Sara Bareilles, Idina Menzel, Pentatonix, LeAnn Rimes, Prince Royce and Trisha Yearwood. For 2014, “Christmas In Rockefeller Center” is getting even more festive, with an additional live hour of specials beginning at 7 p.m. on NBC.

If you are planning on getting a front row seat for the festivities then you better get to Rockefeller Center ASAP, because the event begins at 7 p.m. and for those of you who don’t know is held between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The ceremony is free and is open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. If “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” is a bit to well attended for your holiday viewing pleasure, then be sure to visit the tree now through January 7th, the visiting hours are 5:30 am until midnight daily!

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