The National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony takes place each year on the grounds of the Ellipse, south of the White House. With musical performances, and a message of hope and peace, this event kicks off the annual National Christmas Tree program, which runs until January 1st.
In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas Tree on the grounds of the Ellipse. Every year, we continue that tradition, with the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. In 1954, 56 smaller trees were planted around the National Christmas Tree, representing the 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia. Each year, these trees are decorated by organizations from every state.
The National Christmas Tree Program continues until January 1st and is free to the public. The trees and their decorations are the main attraction, but the program also includes nightly music and dance performances that take place on the Ellipse stage on select dates. These 30 minute performances are free and open to the public. Hours to view the trees are 10:00am-10:00pm Sunday-Thursday, and 10:00am-11:00pm Friday and Saturday. For more information on these performances and visiting the National Christmas Tree, click here.
The Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Thursday, December 5, 2019.
Free tickets are awarded through an online lottery, which closed at 10 a.m. EDT on October 21, 2019. To enter the lottery, visit www.recreation.gov and click the ‘Enter Lottery’ link. Lottery results were available on November 4, 2019.
For more information, or to watch the live webcast, visit: www.thenationaltree.org.
*Photo source: Recreation.gov
The National Christmas Tree Lighting
Hours: Program begins at 5 pm. Gates open at 3:30 pm, ticket holders must be in their seats by 4:30 pm.
Hours to view the trees are 10:00am-10:00pm Sunday-Thursday, and 10:00am-11:00pm Friday and Saturday
Admission: Tickets are available by lottery in October or early November for the lighting ceremony. After the lighting ceremony the attraction is free.
Parking: No on-street parking is available by the White House. Visitors are strongly urged to use public transportation. Limited parking is available along Constitution Avenue between 15th and 17th Streets on evenings and weekends.
Metrorail: Federal Triangle on Orange and Blue lines; Metro Center on Orange, Blue, and Red lines; McPherson Square on Orange and Blue lines.