2020 WRAL Tower Lighting

WRAL's tower glows with more than 2,000 Christmas lights.

While some holiday traditions will suffer in 2020, the annual lighting of the WRAL-TV tower is getting bigger and better.

Tune in on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. for a Tower Lighting Special, brought to you from three locations – WRAL's Western Boulevard station, American Tobacco Campus in Durham and Rocky Mount Mills. WRAL is live across central North Carolina so that you can watch the celebration from the comfort and safety of your home.

In addition to the lighting of the three towers, the event will feature special guests, musical performances and a visit with Santa Claus himself.

Tower lighting a 62-year tradition

This year marks the 62nd year that WRAL and Capitol Broadcasting Company will usher in the holiday season with a 300-foot beacon that lights Santa's way to Raleigh with the WRAL-TV tower.

It all began in 1959, with Capitol Broadcasting founder A.J. Fletcher reading "A Christmas Carol" to viewers before the tower was lit.

Over time, the original tradition was embellished with new ones, including musical performances, aerial video from Sky 5, manufactured snow to set the mood and streaming video to the web and mobile phones.

In 2017, WRAL anchor Bill Leslie debuted a Christmas original composition.

Celebrations from seasons past

Holiday lights abound

As Christmas approaches, homes and businesses around the Triangle light the night with unique displays, musical choreography, inflatables and decorations that range from the sincerely religious to the downright silly.

We've mapped the best to start your tour of holiday lights. Just set the GPS and go, for a holiday celebration from the safety of your car.

Or see them all without starting the car using our online map, and be sure to share your photos!