HomeOutdoorsNewsHow to Watch the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree

How to Watch the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

This year is the 100th National Christmas Tree Lighting, and we’ve got the scoop on when and where to watch the festivities. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will be in attendance at President’s Park for the lighting, along with Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland will also be in attendance, and will make a statement during the lighting.

The celebration takes place on Nov. 30 on the Ellipse in President’s Park. CBS will broadcast the celebration in partnership with the National Park Foundation on Dec. 11 at 8 pm ET. Additionally, the ceremony will be made available on CBS.com on Dec. 12.

The tree will be lit on Nov. 30, but the National Christmas Tree area will not be open to the public until Dec. 2. Then, people can come to President’s Park in Washington, DC, and visit the beautiful tree. The National Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace are free to visit and open from Dec. 1, 2022 to Jan. 31, 2023. The Pathway of Peace features 58 small trees that represent the 56 states and territories and schools managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education and the Department of Defense Education Activity.

Who Will Perform at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony?

The National Christmas Tree Lighting will feature musical performances by many talented stars. Yolanda Adams and Ariana DeBose will perform, and Gloria Estefan, Andy Grammer, Joss Stone and Shania Twain will perform holiday classics. The ceremony is once again hosted by LL Cool J of “NCIS: Los Angeles” fame, who hosted last year’s lighting ceremony as well. “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band will also take the stage.

History of the Ceremony in the United States

This is a big year for the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, as it is the 100th time a National Christmas Tree will be lit in the United States capitol. The celebration was first held in 1923 when Calvin Coolidge lit a 48-foot fir tree with red, white, and green lights. The Marine Corps Band was playing along with a choir. Now, almost 100 years later, we still celebrate this festive tradition.

General Electric has been designing the lighting for the National Christmas Tree since 1963, and in 2007 used LEDs to make the display more energy efficient. There is a lot of history behind the trees, such as the 1963 tree, which wasn’t lit until Dec. 22, after the national period of mourning for President Kennedy. President Lyndon Johnson said at the ceremony, “Today we come to the end of a season of great national sorrow, and to the beginning of the season of great, eternal joy.”

The 1978 tree was found at a family’s home in Pennsylvania. Two previous trees planted on the Ellipse had died, and so the National Park Service searched for a heartier tree that would survive the travel and replanting process. They found one at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William E. Myers, who had planted the 6-year-old Colorado blue spruce in their yard as a Mother’s Day present.