Towering behind Houston Mayor Bill White is a colossal Christmas tree.
"We thank Reliant Energy, a sponsor for this Christmas tree that we'll turn the lights on in due time, has energy efficient Christmas bulbs. So it's a 'sign of the times' that we do have something new and fresh to refresh and old and wonderful tradition."
The tree will be lit with LED light bulbs. They are brighter, last longer and use one-tenth the energy consumed by traditional Christmas lights.
White says Friday's party will also serve as a tribute to first responders.
"I want to especially ask Houstonians to take this as a beginning of an opportunity during the holiday season to thank all the heroes and heroines who helped us recover so well from Hurricane Ike."
The Mayor's Holiday Celebration is Friday at 6pm and includes the tree lighting, music and fireworks.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.