The Christmas season officially arrives tonight with the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Tree

Food and Fun

POSTED: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 4:47pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 6:38pm

Thousands will gather in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center tonight for the lighting of the famed Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

The annual spectacle has become a world famous symbol of the holidays.

The 80 foot tall Norway Spruce is more than a Christmas tree.

Just weeks ago it came from Flanders, New Jersey, cut down after surviving Hurricane Sandy.

Joe Balku donated the tree.

"I love the tree, but i love to see it go, so it's two different ideals," he said after it was cut.

Sandy left Balku with no power and knocked down two other trees in his yard, but the spruce stood tall.

Now its been decorated in more than 30,000 lights and topped with a Swarvoski crystal star.

A symbol of strength, offering joy and hope to the thousands who visit Rockefeller Center.

Tonight marks the 80th annual tree lighting ceremony.

The tradition actually started in the early 1930s during the Great Depression.

The ceremony will feature special performance from several artists including Rod Stewart, Cee Lo Green and Trace Adkins.

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