How to snag free tickets to the 2017 National Tree Lighting in Washington D.C.


How to snag free tickets to the 2017 National Tree Lighting in Washington D.C.

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Carolyn Kaster
The Obamas join performers and other participants at the 2015 National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. The annual event takes place this year on Nov. 30.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Ho, ho, ho, pay no attention to the fact that it’s 90 degrees outside and you haven’t even settled on a Halloween costume yet.

it’s time to get serious about Christmas.

Thursday marks the start of the National Tree Lighting ticket lottery. Free tickets to the beloved annual event will be awarded to people across the country through an online lottery running from 10 a.m. Oct. 12 through 10 a.m. Oct. 16 (There’s also a way to enter the lottery by phone).

First lady Laura Bush talked to Willard Scott, dressed as Santa Claus, after the lighting of the 81st national Christmas Tree in front of the White House in 2004. An online ticket lottery for this year’s ceremony runs from Oct. 12-Oct. 16. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Joe Raedle

Launched in 1923 during the administration of Calvin “Smilin’ Cal” Coolidge, this year’s ceremony takes place on November 30th in President’s Park, a National Park that has the White House and the Ellipse within its “footprint.” This year’s event will also include musical performances by the U.S. Navy Band, Mannheim Steamroller, with additional entertainment and big name guests still to be announced.

Tickets are limited for the lighting, which is put on by The National Park Service and National Park Foundation. To enter the lottery, go to and click on the “Ticket Lottery” link. Or phone  877-444-6777.

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Only one entry per household is allowed. Winners will be notified on October 30th. For everyone else, Hallmark Channel will exclusively televise the National Christmas Tree Lighting on December 4.

That should fit in quite nicely with the “All holiday, all the time” programming  on Hallmark and its sister network, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Starting on Oct. 27, both will air holiday movies ‘round the clock for 67 straight days.

For additional information, visit You can also follow the National Christmas Tree on Twitter at @TheNationalTree.

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