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The 2009 National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC


The 2009 National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC

Christmas at the White House

Destination DC

The annual lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC will mark its 86th anniversary this year. Celebrity entertainers add their sparkle to the evening as the President ushers in the season with a message of peace to the nation and the world. The evening hits its high note with the illumination of the National Christmas Tree.

Surrounding the National Christmas Tree is what is known as the "Pathway of Peace" and consists of 56 decorated trees representing all 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia. Sponsoring organizations from each state provide the decorations and each decoration is encased in a plastic globe to shield it from the weather.

To add to the magic and spirit of the season and as part of the Pageant of Peace, each night for three weeks in December, musical groups perform free holiday music for visitors to the Ellipse where the National Christmas Tree is on display. For further information or scheduled groups performing call (202) 208-1631.


  • Date: December 3, 2009 is the Official Tree Lighting Ceremony and begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are required for the lighting ceremony only.
  • Location: The Ellipse
  • Hours: Tree lights are on from dusk until 11 p.m. each evening.
  • Admission: Free
  • For More Information Visit: National Park Service

Opening Night Tree Lighting Ceremony

  • Ticket Distribution: Tickets for the 2009 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be distributed using a new lottery system. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Wednesday, November 4th, individuals can register online by visiting www.thenationaltree.org to complete a lottery application for a chance to win tickets to the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Additionally, those wishing to win tickets can call (877) 444-6777 and register via phone. A total of 2,800 ticketed seats and 7,000 standing room tickets will be given out. Lottery winners will be notified by email if you registered via computer or U.S. Mail in you registered via phone. You can check your lottery status beginning November 9, 2009 and tickets will be mailed to winners by November 15, 2009.
  • For additional information about ticket distribution and the schedule of entertainment, visit the National Park Service Web Site.

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