The start of December kicks off the countdown to Christmas, and this year, Jane Krakowksi will combine holiday festivities with giving back to a good cause, as Dec. 1 also marks World AIDS Day.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star, 49, will help light the Christmas tree Friday at the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park’s annual Tree Lighting Skate-tacular in New York City. The Winter Village has partnered with (RED) for the fourth year in a row to host a pop-up shop where guests can order products to support (SHOPATHON)RED, the organization’s annual campaign to raise money for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS.
“It’s lovely to remember that when you’re buying a gift this time of year that you could buy a gift that also gives back,” Krakowski tells PEOPLE.
World AIDS Day was founded in 1988 by then-World Health Organization employees Thomas Netter and Jim Bunn to spread awareness and information about the disease that was founded only four years prior.
“I have been friends and worked with many people who have been afflicted with AIDS, and I’ve lost many friends to AIDS, so it will always be a fight that is near and dear to my heart,” the actress says. “I will always support finding a cure so we don’t have to go through losing a generation like we did when it first started.”
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The Manhattan resident also enjoys being able to partake in one of the city’s holiday traditions. “I absolutely love New York, especially at the holidays,” Krakowski says. “So I love being a part of the special events that happen here, as it is my home and hopefully will be my home for a long time to come.”
Despite being a Broadway vet and starring on hit shows like Kimmy Schmidt and 30 Rock, Krakowski still felt starstruck when she met Olympic and World Champion skaters Johnny Weir, Kimmie Meissner, Meryl Davis, Charlie White and Jeff Buttle ahead of their performances at Friday’s Skate-tacular.
“I’m one of those people who watches the ice skating on the Olympics religiously, but also if the Worlds are on or any of the other competitions, I will tune in because I admire the artistry of it all and the skill,” says the mom to Bennett, 6. “So I was a bit of a fangirl last night getting to meet all of them in person.”
Krakowski also some experience of her own on the ice. “I was really into ice skating as a child,” she recounts. “I took lessons and did some early competitions. But my skating nor my outfits could never compete with Johnny Weir.”