‘Tis the Season: Capitol, White House Christmas Trees to Be Lighted
WASHINGTON — If you love attending Christmas tree lightings, the next two days will be especially exciting.
On Tuesday night, at 5 p.m., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will join members of the North Carolina Congressional Delegation and Gov. Roy Cooper to light the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on the Capitol’s West Front Lawn.
This year’s tree is a red spruce from the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina.
The Pisgah is home to the first school of forestry in the United States, which is now preserved at the Cradle of Forestry in America historic site.
This is the third time the Pisgah National Forest has provided the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. Fraser firs from the forest adorned the Capitol lawn in 1974 and again in 1998.
“Coche” Catcuce Micco Tiger, a fourth grader from Cherokee, North Carolina, will serve as honorary tree lighter and there will be a musical performance by the Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel.
This year’s tree will be lit from dusk until 11 p.m. each evening through Jan. 1, 2023.
A livestream of Tuesday evening’s event will be available here.
On Wednesday, the action shifts to the 100th National Christmas Tree lighting on the Ellipse in President’s Park outside the White House.
Attendees for the lighting ceremony itself were chosen by a ticket lottery that began in mid-October and ended Nov. 1, but the tree is visible from the National Mall near the Washington Monument.
The general public is invited to visit the National Christmas Tree and the 58 surrounding trees decorated by states, territories and schools managed by the Bureau of Indian Education and the Department of Defense Education Activity from Dec. 2 through Jan. 1.
The tradition of the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony began Christmas Eve in 1923, after the District of Columbia public schools proposed that a decorated Christmas tree be placed on the South Lawn of the White House.
President Calvin Coolidge followed up on that proposal by lighting a 48-foot balsam fir from Vermont decorated with 2,500 red, white and green electric bulbs.
Wednesday’s event, presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, will be hosted by LL Cool J for the second consecutive year.
He will be joined on stage by a star-studded lineup of holiday musical performances by Gloria Estefan, Andy Grammer, Joss Stone, Shania Twain and more.
The event will also feature performances by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band.
The CBS Television Network will broadcast a delayed presentation of the National Tree Lighting on Dec. 11 at 8 p.m.
The National Christmas Tree Lighting will also be available for the public to view at CBS.com beginning Dec. 12.
A word on the 58 smaller trees surrounding the National Christmas Tree. They are decorated by students from across the country through the America Celebrates ornament program.
The program is an annual collaboration of the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Education and the National Park Foundation.
Each federal partner worked within their organization to facilitate the identification of elementary, middle and high schools to participate in the program, which is funded by the foundation.
The program and tradition grew out of wartime restrictions during World War II that barred the purchase of new ornaments for the National Christmas Tree.
In response, students in Washington, D.C., donated ornaments to supplement those used in past years.
This year, more than 2,600 students, ranging in age from 4 to 19, participated in the America Celebrates ornament program.
Since 1973, the National Christmas Tree has been a living tree that can be viewed year-round in President’s Park.