White House

National Christmas Tree Lighting: Everything You Need To Know, Plus Photos

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will light the National Christmas Tree for the first time Thursday.

The 95th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting will take place on the Ellipse at the White House Thursday evening. Tickets are required and were available through a lottery. 

If you're headed to Thursday's National Christmas Tree lighting on the White House's Ellipse, or if you'll be driving in the area, here’s everything you need to know about this year’s musical guests, road closures and more. 


Kathie Lee Gifford and Dean Cain will host the event, with performances by The Beach Boys, Wynonna and The Texas Tenors. Craig Campbell, Us The Duo and Steve Gibson will also take the stage.

Last year, Chance the Rapper, Kelly Clarkson and Garth Brooks were highlights of the ceremony.

Road Closures

Many roads will close before the event’s start time of 4:30 p.m. and continue throughout the night. Click here for a complete list of affected roads.

Getting There

The National Park Service recommends guests with tickets use public transit to get to President’s Park. The Farragut North and Farragut West Metro stations are closest to the event.

Guests must be in their seats or their allocated standing area by 4:30 p.m. for security reasons, The National Park Service said. Gates open at 3 p.m.

Forbidden Items

Pack light! While strollers, wheelchairs, rain jackets and ponchos are permitted, many items are not. Below are the things you cannot bring to the tree lighting.

  • Tablets, iPads, Video Recorders, Monopods and Selfie Sticks
  • All bags, including Diaper Bags, Purses, Backpacks and Suitcases
  • Umbrellas with metal tips
  • Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
  • Animals other than service/guide animals
  • Bicycles, folding chairs, tents, structures, packages, balloons, coolers, glass, thermal or metal Containers
  • Signs or flags of any kind
  • Any pointed object(s), including pocket knives
  • Weapons
  • Food, liquid, aerosols, tobacco products or lighters
  • Firearms, ammunition, fireworks, laser pointers, stun guns/tasers, Mace/pepper spray, toy weapons or knives of any kind
  • Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards

If you weren't lucky enough to get a ticket, the ceremony will be aired on the Hallmark Channel on Dec. 4.

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