Friday, November 30, 2012

National Christmas Tree Lighting Set for December 6th

National Christmas Tree Lighting on December 1, 2011

Living in the nation's capital has its perks, one of them being The National Christmas Tree Lighting, which celebrates its 90th birthday on Thursday, December 6th. The festivities take place at The Ellipse (President's Park South) just south of the White House; and get underway at 4:30 PM with a special pre-show hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris.

Calvin Coolidge was the first U.S. President to light the tree, back in 1923; and after bouncing around (Lafayette and Sherman Parks, even the South Lawn of the White House) for three decades, the tree lighting moved back to The Ellipse, where it's been ever since. President Barack Obama (along with the First Lady and their children) will repeat the honors this year, beginning at or about 6:30 PM.

Santa Claus and President Obama at last year's ceremony

As you can imagine, demand is high for the annual event. A lottery was held back in October for the 3,000 seated and 14,000 standing-room tickets. Winners were notified by November 1st and received their tickets in the mail. If you were lucky enough to be be selected, congratulations and good luck with the traffic. If your name wasn't picked, you can still watch the ceremony online by clicking here. It will also air on broadcast television (WETA) beginning December 7th and throughout the holidays.

In addition to Harris, the pre-show will include performances by the U.S. Navy Band jazz ensemble, BabyfaceThe Fray, Jason Mraz, American Idol Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips and 5x Grammy award winner James Taylor. Modern Family's Manny (Rico Rodriguez) will also make a special guest appearance.