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


National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
The ceremony will be held on November 30, 2017.

Get Tickets to Attend
Tickets are required to attend this event and are awarded through an online lottery. The 2017 lottery opens at 10 a.m. EST Thursday, October 12 and closes at 10 a.m. EST Monday, October 16. Lottery winners will be notified on October 30.

Watch the Show
The 2017 lighting ceremy will air on Hallmark Channel on Monday, December 4. Watch the 2016 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony!

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


Pathway of Peace

How to Visit
The Pathway of Peace site is free to visit and open to the public from 8:00 am-Midnight through January 1, 2018.

What to Expect
The walkway surrounding the National Christmas Tree features 56 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 Midnight.

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


National Christmas Tree Music Program

Application to Perform
Please visit the music program webpage in September to apply for the 2017 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! Check out the 2017 schedule.

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

Last updated: December 5, 2017

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