White House National Christmas Tree Lighting 2015: Time, Performers and How to Live-Stream


The 93rd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony kicks off Thursday evening on the Ellipse at President's Park, just steps away from the White House. The event is held each year and features a series of musical performances. President Barack Obama and the first family will do the honors of lighting the tree.

How to watch: Though the lottery for free tickets to attend this year's National Christmas Tree Lighting has ended, the event will live-stream via TheNationalTree.org beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern on Thursday. The ceremony will also air on PBS throughout the month of December. 

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Who will be there: This year's ceremony will be hosted by actress Reese Witherspoon. Other special guests taking the stage include singer Andra Day, Tori Kelly, The Muppets character Miss Piggy and pop-rock band Fall Out Boy. The United States Coast Guard Band will also be performing. 

How the National Christmas Tree Lighting began: President Calvin Coolidge began the National Christmas Tree Lighting tradition in 1923. The event wasn't much different from what it is today: The U.S. Marine Band performed a quartet, and the gigantic tree was lit up with 2,500 bulbs. It was a 48-foot-tall Balsam fir, and although details aren't yet available on specifics for the 2015 National Christmas tree, audiences can anticipate yet another fantastic display of lights.

Below are photos from the National Christmas Tree Lighting from past years:


Paul Morigi/Getty Images


Paul Morigi/Getty Images


The Washington Post/Getty Images


SAUL LOEB/Getty Images