Christmas trees in New York and Washington lit up

Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree and National Christmas Tree kick off holiday season

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On Wednesday evening two famous US Christmas trees, in New York City and the nation's capital, Washington, were lit up to start the holiday season.

Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton dazzled with a duet of their You Make It Feel Like Christmas single as part of a two-hour lighting celebration broadcast on TV for national audiences.

Tens of thousands crowded around the plaza to hear performances from Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, and others.

The Radio City Rockettes and Muppets of Sesame Street also made appearances.

Hundreds of thousands walk into Rockefeller Centre Plaza to view the tree each day in December until the New Year. At least 125 million visit over the season.

The 25-metre tree, donated by a New York family, was shipped from 320km north of the city and now stands above the ice skating rink, topped by a Swarovski star made of three million crystals.

Meanwhile, in Washington, about 10,000 people gathered at the Ellipse in President's Park, south of the White House, to view the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.

President Joe Biden spoke at the lighting. He was with his wife, Jill Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff.

“From the Biden family to you. Merry Christmas, America,” Mr Biden said.

Ms Biden this week unveiled the White House decorations with a "We the People" theme.

The US Marine Band was on hand to perform, along with LL Cool J, Shania Twain and others.

The first National Christmas Tree was lit by President Calvin Coolidge in 1923 and there has been a lighting ever since, the National Park Service says.

The tree has almost 4,000 metres of string lights, and there are 58 smaller Christmas trees that symbolise all of the US states and territories.

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Updated: December 01, 2022, 3:01 AM