National Tree Lighting Ceremony


With the beginning of November comes the inevitable start of the Festive Winter Holiday Season onslaught. In today’s commercialized world, so many of us cynically mark it with the dangling of twinkle-lights dangling from the ceiling at Whole Foods and arrival of Santa Claus dog costumes in the shops.

Perhaps, however, this is the year to greet Festive Time in a more wholesome, ceremonial way: By waiting in a line staffed by government bureaucrats to get tickets so that, a month later, you can huddle with the masses trying to get a glimpse of the various VIP’s on hand to flip a switch and turn on thousands of tiny lights on a generally underwhelming Christmas tree. (Seriously, why is the National Christmas Tree always so small and unimpressive? It is the National Tree. Why is it not remotely as good as the NBC/General Electric Rockefeller Center Holiday Treeā„¢?) Also, country music will be performed.

Tickets for the tree lighting become available Saturday November 3, at 8:00 am. Allegedly, one will need to arrive well in advance to hope of getting tickets, but having never done it I cannot say it is not just hype. They are distributed from the White House Visitors Center at 15th and E. All the information is available from The National Park Service.

Personally, I file the National Tree Lighting Ceremony under “things my parents did with me as a child that everybody should probably do once” rather than “traditions that I look forward to each year,” but that may just be me…

4 Comments so far

  1. ajw_93 (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

    The White House tree is hideous! I don’t understand it either. It is more interesting to visit it in spring or summer when it’s just a regular old tree with a plaque next to it.

    The nice-looking tree is the one at the Capitol.

    This year, the tree’s from Vermont. Are there still more cows than people there? Anyhow, the tree will be trucked down from VT this month and lit on December 5. I’ll be there!

  2. Joseph J. Finn (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

    Hooray! So my tax refund for however many cents of mine were used to violate the Constitution and perform a religious ritual sponsered by the Federal government is on it’s way, right?

  3. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

    We went last year and had a mostly good time despite what that criminal John Conlee did to O Holy Night. It’s worth doing once, but I think that’s about it.

    And Joseph? It’s about as a-religious as you get.

  4. KateD (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2007 @ 8:09 am

    I second AJW’s statement! The tree on the Ellipse is fugly. But the Capitol tree, with its homemade ornaments, is always a treat. Idaho’s tree is still my favorite: many ornaments were made from potatoes.

    Best of all, you can walk right up to the tree at the Capitol and there are generally no crowds.

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