National Christmas Tree

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The tradition of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse began with President Calvin Coolidge over 90 years ago when he lit a 48 foot Balsam Fir from Vermont decorated with 2,500 electric bulbs in red, white, and green on Christmas Eve 1923. Today, the tree lighting remains a beloved holiday event in Washington, DC. Learn more about the history of the National Christmas Tree.
 
A children's choir performs in front of the lit National Christmas Tree in President's Park.
National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, 2019

NPS / L. Macro

Watch the National Christmas Tree Lighting

Due to COVID-19-related public health concerns, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation will not host a live audience at the 2020 National Christmas Tree Lighting. Starting on December 3rd, you can watch the 2020 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony online.

 
Lit trees display handcrafted ornaments in front of the White House.
Pathway of Peace, 2019

NPS / L. Macro

Pathway of Peace

How to Visit

The Pathway of Peace site is free to visit and open to the public December 1, 2020 through January 1, 2021. Hours are 10:00 am-10:00 pm Sunday-Thursday, and 10:00 am-11:00 pm Friday and Saturday.

What to Expect

The walkway surrounding the National Christmas Tree features 56 state and territory trees decorated with ornaments designed by students that are unique to each tree.

The National Christmas Tree lights turn on around sunset each evening and turn off promptly at 10:00 pm Sunday-Thursday and 11:00 pm on Friday and Saturday.

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

NPS/A.Garrison

National Christmas Tree Music Program

Due to COVID-19-related public health concerns, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation will not host 2020 National Christmas Tree music program this year. Please check back next fall for more information about 2021.

Last updated: December 3, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1849 C Street NW
Room 1426

Washington, DC 20240

Phone:

(202) 208-1631

Contact Us