Lighting of the National Christmas Tree
On the Second Thursday in December, the President illuminates the national Christmas tree and lights a menorah on the Ellipse and there’s outdoor partying on New Year’s Eve at the Old Post Office. Thousands of spirited patriots turn out for the annual lighting ceremony of the National Christmas Tree in early December, and thousands more make a trip to the Ellipse to see the tree throughout the rest of the month. The festivities are all part of the Christmas Pageant of Peace. The National Christmas Tree, with a large-scale model train running around it, is a must-see for Washingtonians and tourists alike. Fifty-six smaller trees representing the 50 states, five territories and DC surround the main tree, each decorated by state-sponsored organizations. A Yule log burns nightly to keep warm, and local groups put on shows on a performance stage. It is a fabulous way to celebrate the holidays in the nation's capital.