Didn't win the lottery to see the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in person? Well, you can still watch the big event either live via your trusty computer or a day later by turning on your television.
The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation say public television stations nationwide will broadcast the 2009 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony this year for the first time. In partnership with WETA, Washington, D.C.’s flagship public broadcasting station, public television stations will begin airing the 60-minute lighting ceremony on Friday, December 4, and continue throughout the holiday season. Check your local public station schedules for exact broadcast dates and times.
In addition, the public will be able to view the lighting ceremony live on Thursday, December 3 at 5:00 p.m. EST/4 p.m. CST/3 p.m. MST/2:00 p.m. PST at www.thenationaltree.org. The public is also invited to visit the interactive site now and throughout the holiday season to experience all the behind-the-scenes festivities of the event from the story of the first National Christmas Tree to the one-of-a-kind ornaments made each year by ordinary Americans to hang on 56 trees – one for every U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia. Visitors to the site may also create their own customized, interactive e-card for the holidays.
A first-time lottery for free tickets to the ceremony saw approximately 37,000 people submit their names for a chance to attend the tree lighting. The lighting of the tree, a living blue spruce from Pennsylvania that was planted on the Ellipse behind the White House many years ago, will not only delight the gathered multitude, but also trigger a month-long Pageant of Peace celebration featuring the usual impressive array of holiday-themed activities and big-name entertainment. Celebrity performers who will help celebrate at the ceremony will be announced next week.
The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is presented by the National Park Foundation and National Park Service.