Whether your Christmas tree is a 10-foot giant or a little Charlie Brown special, it’s still unforgettable when those lights are turned on for the first time. In cities and towns with large public Christmas trees, the Christmas tree lighting ceremony is often a big event -- complete with public officials or entertainers, and a countdown to that big moment when the lights all turn on at once. While you might not have been ready to watch the tree lightings these past couple of weeks, you can still watch them online when the holiday spirit strikes. Videos of the biggest and most spectacular Christmas tree lighting ceremonies of 2012 are available online, and we’ve picked out the most popular and most memorable tree lighting videos to light up your Yuletide season.
At the White House and in New York’s Rockefeller Center, the lighting of the Christmas tree is accompanied with big-name performers and entertainers. Other notable Christmas tree lightings embellish the show with fireworks displays or one-of-a-kind special effects. You’ll get a charge of holiday glow from watching the Christmas trees light up in these literally brilliant Christmas tree lighting videos.
WHITE HOUSE CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING VIDEO
Just next door to the White House, President Obama and his family lit the National Christmas Tree at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. on the night of December 6, 2012. The White House Christmas lighting is always a gala event. This year’s tree lighting was no different, with the event hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and featuring performances by living legend James Taylor, pop singer Colbie Caillat, and more. You can watch the White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony online in its entirety at TheNationalTree.org. It’s is an hour-long variety show and the actual lighting of the Christmas tree can be found at the 8:20 mark of that video. If you just want to see the tree lighting, the video below from The Telegraph starts with the countdown and features President Obama displaying his renowned singing skills to the tune of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
The National Christmas Tree lighting isn’t the only tree being lit during the holiday season.The Republican Speaker John Boehner lit the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree on December 4. The 65-foot Colorado Spruce tree is lit with the illuminated U.S. Capitol building in the background, while the U.S. Air Force Band performs “O Christmas Tree.”
WATCH THE ROCKEFELLER CENTER CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING
The tree is even bigger in New York city, where an 80-foot Norway spruce has the honor of serving as the world-famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. All 30,000 LED lights on the tree were lit on November 28, 2012 as part of an hour-long variety show holiday special on NBC. Thanks to the magic of amateur HD video, you can skip right to the good part with some superbly edited video from a lucky viewer who was right up close for this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting.
The lighting of that tree is magical, but the magic lasts for just a brief moment – even though the tree itself takes more than two weeks to erect and decorate. You might be even more impressed with this time-lapse video of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree’s construction. Ever see a truck-mounted crane drag and erect an eight-story-tall Christmas tree? It’s a pretty magnificent sight to behold. You can see it captured in this time-lapse video from Time magazine.
FUNNY CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING VIDEOS
There’s nothing quite like the Christmas tree lighting in the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. A little lagoon in Rio called Rodrigo de Freitas is home to the “world’s largest floating Christmas tree,” a 280-foot tree mounted on a floating platform, towering at more than triple the height of the White House tree or the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. The video below captures moments from the floating tree’s 2012 lighting ceremony, a dazzling animated show set to a fireworks display. Just be aware – the “tree” here is not actually a tree, but instead a metallic cone set with 3.1 million individual light bulbs. It might be a little dangerous with the fireworks if it was an actual tree.
The Christmas tree lighting is a whole lot fishier at the Living Planet Aquarium in Sandy, Utah. An electric eel literally powers the Christmas tree display at the aquarium. Electric eels, of course, produce small charges of electricity to catch prey and discourage predators. This particular eel, aptly named “Sparky,” has his electrical charges harnessed by stainless steel electrodes connected to the tank. Sparky is then able to “control” the sequencer that powers the lights, which blink slowly when he moves slowly, and blink more rapidly whenever the little guy swims faster.
Have you ever seen the White House or Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lightings firsthand? Maybe you’ve got some good Christmas tree lighting videos of your own? Leave your holly and jolly remarks below in the comments section.
Joe is a San Francisco tech blogger, sports journalist, and regular contributor to the RealPlayer blog. His background writing technical manuals and internet marketing content fostered his interest in web video, while his two years writing for NBC fostered his interest in cracking bad jokes. Joe’s work has been quoted in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly strange decisions.