The lottery for free tickets to the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony opened bright and early today at 12:01 AM. Applicants have until 11:59 PM on Friday, November 6, to get their names in the hat.
This year, you can fill out an online application or call 877-444-6777 for a chance to secure one of the 2,800 seated tickets or 7,000 standing-room tickets. (Note: Standing-room tickets will have a view of the tree, but not the performance stage.) Applicants may submit only one application but can apply for up to five tickets. Ticket seekers can check the status of their request online or by phone from November 9 through 16. Tickets will be mailed by November 15.
The ceremony, which is scheduled for 5 PM on December 3, kicks off the holiday season in Washington with the lighting of the National Christmas Tree and 56 smaller trees, representing the states, five territories, and DC. It includes live entertainment by well-known performers—this year's lineup has yet to be announced—and the United States Marine Corps Band. The president usually makes an appearance.
If you're not among the lucky ones, you can watch the ceremony here via live Webcast on December 3. And remember, you can see the lit tree without tickets every night through January 1. The lights go off at 11 PM.