Tickets to the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be available online for the first time when the lottery opens after midnight tonight.
While the tickets are free, the lottery is only open until 11:59 p.m. this Friday for the public to request a spot for the event occurring Dec. 5 on the Ellipse near the White House.
Tickets can be requested here through the National Park Service and National Park Foundation. There will be 2,800 seats available and another 7,000 standing- room only tickets available.
Requests for tickets can still be made over the phone from Wednesday to Friday by calling 877-444-6777 or for TDD 877- 833-6777.
Winners will be notified via e-mail if they requested a ticket online, and through U.S. Mail if they submit a request over the phone. The status of a ticket request will be available beginning Nov. 9.
The ceremony will start at 5 p.m. Dec. 3. If you don’t get a ticket, you can still watch the ceremony and performers, who have not yet been announced, online.
This year marks the 86th anniversary of the lighting on the National Christmas Tree, a tradition which started in 1923 with President Calvin Coolidge. Though the tree’s location near the White House has changed over the years, since 1954 it has been located on the Ellipse.
Along with the National Christmas tree, another 56 trees will be lit from dusk until 11 p.m. each night until January 1, 2010, creating the “Christmas Pathway of Peace.” The smaller trees will represent all 50 states, five territories and the District.