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
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.
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.
National Christmas Tree Music ProgramDue 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