About the National Christmas Tree Lighting

Five-time Grammy Award winner James Taylor along with Country Music superstars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood will take the stage at the 94th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Other music luminaries, including gospel legend Yolanda Adams, the first “American Idol” Kelly Clarkson and critically acclaimed hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper, will also be performing at this year’s event.

The special event at President's Park wraps the National Park Service centennial year and celebrates the launch of a second century of stewardship. Through a partnership with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, the 2016 National Christmas Tree Lighting will be televised exclusively on Hallmark Channel on Monday, December 5.

The tradition began in 1923 when First Lady Grace Coolidge gave permission for the District of Columbia Public Schools to erect a Christmas tree on the Ellipse south of the White House. The organizers named the tree the “National Christmas Tree.” That Christmas Eve, President Calvin Coolidge walked from the White House to the Ellipse and “pushed the button” to light the 48-foot Balsam fir, as enthusiastic spectators looked on.

Since that first ceremony in 1923, the history of the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree has become intertwined with the history of America. Through peace and war, from national celebration to national mourning, Americans have gathered together and celebrated the season in this holiday event.

Learn more about the history of the National Christmas Tree Lighting: www.thenationaltree.org/event-history