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.
Watch the National Christmas Tree Lighting
The 2021 ceremony and official lighting took place on Thursday, December 2.
Pathway of Peace
How to Visit
The Pathway of Peace site is free to visit and open to the public December 4 through January 1, 2022. 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 58 state and territory trees decorated with ornaments designed by students that are unique to each tree. Schools managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education and the Department of Defense Education Activity also participated in the display for the first time this year.
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.
National Christmas Tree Music ProgramDue to COVID-19-related public health concerns, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation will not host 2021 National Christmas Tree music program this year. Please check back next fall for more information about 2022.
Last updated: July 29, 2022