Eight-year-old Danny Eggemann helped Santa throw the switch on a burst of 2 million lights illuminating Central Park outside the famed restaurant on Manhattan's West Side.
Nearly 130 years after Edison pioneered electricity, the 21st century lights include strands of decorative lighting with the capacity to show text, animation, graphics and video.
The display was donated by Indiana-based Galaxia Lighting.
Company President Lee Jorgenson said it was worth more than $40,000.
The animations include a snowfall and a shooting star.
The late-afternoon ceremony included a rendition of "Winter Wonderland" sung by William Michals, who stars in the musical "South Pacific" at the nearby Vivian Beaumont Theatre.