Preview Of The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony In Washington DC

December 4, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

(credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

(credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
President’s Park
1100 Ohio Drive SW
Washington, DC 20242
(202) 208-1631

Date: Dec. 6 – 4:30 p.m.

The lighting of the National Christmas Tree is an annual American tradition that celebrates the Christmas holiday season. The beautiful evergreen tree that is plucked from one the 50 states and transported to the nation’s capital is adorned with lights that are illuminated for the first time on this special night. With the president and first family in tow, the nation counts down the magical moment when the tree’s lights are switched on for the first time and shine for all to see. Here’s some information to get you ready for the big night.

Tree Lighting History

For 90 years, Americans across the nation have enjoyed the tree-lighting ceremony. The very first one took place in 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge lit 2,500 lights on a 48-foot fir tree decorated in red, white and green. During the ceremony, a quartet from the U.S. Marine Band performed. Fast forward to today, and the time-honored tradition continues with President Barack Obama and the first family. Beginning with the lighting ceremony, the lights are turned on every evening at dusk and remain on until 10 p.m. The process is continued through New Year’s Day.

Television Broadcast

Watch the tree-lighting ceremony in the comfort of your home when it streams live online here. After the live stream, the lighting ceremony will continue to be available online on-demand at that location. The ceremony will be broadcast nationally by public television stations in partnership with WETA Dec. 7 and continues to air throughout the holiday season.

Related: Best Places to Create Your Own Holiday Gifts in D.C.

Dining After The Lights

Notti Bianche
824 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 298-8085

After the lighting ceremony, keep the celebration going with a little authentic Italian cuisine at Notti Bianche restaurant — just a four-minute drive from the event. With dishes for less than $30, the restaurant located in historic Foggy Bottom offers cuisine that will fill your stomach without emptying your pockets. Notti Bianche once received three stars from food critics at The Washington Post, and once named it the Third Best neighborhood restaurant. Rest assured that your tastebuds will be in good hands.

Parking: Street, Valet
Metro: Foggy Bottom Station

Dish + Drinks
The River Inn

924 25th St. NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 338-8707

Try Dish + Drinks, a new restarant in Foggy Bottom that puts a new spin on American cuisine. The restaurant uses local ingredients to create a sophisticated menu that is sure to tickle your tastebuds. It also offers a pre-theater menu so guests may grab a bite to eat before a show, making it perfect before the tree-lighting ceremony. Guests enjoy a comfortable dining atmosphere complete with a gas-lit fireplace that will keep you warm and toasty on a chilly winter’s night.

Parking: Street
Metro: Foggy Bottom Station

Cup’a Cup’a
600 19th St. NW
Washington, DC 20431
(202) 887-4922

Enjoy a fresh, hot cup of coffee before or after the night’s festivities at Foggy Bottom’s Cup’a Cup’a, a favorite coffee shop of many D.C. locals. Curteous and skilled baristas quickly whip up your favorite coffee combinations here. Cozy up to a hot cup of coffee or espresso, and chat away with friends and associates, or wander into the bookstore connected right to the coffee shop and browse through your favorite bestsellers. Celebrate the Christmas season at this popular coffee spot.

Parking: Street
Metro: Foggy Bottom Station, Farragut West Station, Farragut North Station

Related: Best Hot Drinks In D.C.

Kevin D. Porter is the author of the forthcoming middle-grade mystery novel MISSING — due for traditional publication in Spring 2013. He is also a Staff Writer for oZWorldMedia and Literary Examiner for