National Christmas Tree

The tradition of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse began with President Calvin Coolidge over 90 years ago. A 48 foot Balsam Fir from Vermont decorated with 2,500 electric bulbs in red, white, and green served as the first National Christmas Tree which was lit by President Coolidge on Christmas Eve 1923. Today the tradition continues and is one of the most beloved holiday events in Washington DC.
 
Audience and the National Christmas Tree
National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, 2014

NPS/M.Reese

National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
The ceremony will be held on December 1, 2016.

Get Tickets to Attend
Tickets are required to attend this event and are awarded through an online lottery. The 2016 lottery is closed. Lottery winners will be notified on October 27.

Watch the Show

Volunteer
Hundreds of volunteers give their time each year to support this event. Find out how you can get involved!

 
Visitors at National Christmas Tree
Pathway of Peace, 2012

NPS/A.Garrison

Pathway of Peace

How to Visit
The Pathway of Peace site is free to visit and open to the public from 10:00 am-10:00 pm in December.

What to Expect
The walkway surrounding the National Christmas Tree features 57 state and territory trees decorated with hand made ornaments that are unique to each tree.

The National Christmas Tree lights turn on at approximately 4:30 pm and turn off promptly at 10:00 pm.


 
Audience watches musical performers at the National Christmas Tree
Performers during the 2015 season.

NPS/A.Garrison

National Christmas Tree Music Program

Application to Perform
Please visit the music program webpage the first week of September to apply for the 2016 season.

Attend a Performance
Nightly music and dance performances take place on the Ellipse stage for 2 weeks in December. These 30 minute performances are free and open to the public. All performances are holiday themed and include local school groups, church choirs, dancers, Girl Scout troops, and even a Ukulele Orchestra!

 
 
Since 1923, the National Christmas Tree has been a traditional celebration of the holiday season.
History of the National Christmas Tree
 

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Room 344

Washington, DC 20242

Phone:

(202) 208-1631
Phone number for the White House Visitor Center and President's Park offices.

Contact Us