I don’t know about you but I think Christmas officially begins when they light the big tree at Rockefeller Center. NBC lets everybody watch, and this year’s spectacular is Wednesday night at 8. Nick Lachey, Al Roker and Ashley Tisdale host the telecast. Tisdale, one of the stars of “High School Musical,” also joins a diverse and impressive roster of musical talent that include Tony Bennett, Carrie Underwood, Josh Groban, Natasha Bedington, Celine Dion, Sean Kingston and Taylor Swift.

A little history: The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dates back to the Great Depression. First erected in 1933, the tree was decked with 700 lights and placed in front of the then eight-month-old RCA Building, now the GE Building. The Christmas tree gathering was enhanced in 1936 with the opening of the Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice-skating pond. NBC televised the first tree lighting in 1951 on “The Kate Smith Show” and as part of the nationwide “Howdy Doody” television show from 1953-55.