Brighten Up the Holiday Season by Hitting the Lottery

A shot of the tree from Christmas past.

I know. It seems crazy to be discussing the holidays when the front yard is still covered in fake cobwebs, but some events require early action, and this is one of them. Yes, I’m talking about the 2011 National Christmas Tree Lighting.  And, yes, the early action required is entry into the lottery to win tickets to the celebration.

This year’s National Christmas Tree Lighting will take place on December 1 at 5pm.  In case you’re new to this DC holiday tradition, here’s the scoop: Every year, the National Christmas Tree is illuminated on the Ellipse in a big ceremony  presented by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation. The President of the United States delivers a message of peace, big-name entertainers perform, and the whole event is televised (and webcast) for the world to witness. And every year, tickets to the ceremony are issued to the public via an online lottery  –  this year 3,000 seats and 14,000 standing admissions (4,000 more than last year) are distributed to the lucky winners.

And here’s the info that I know you’re waiting for: The lottery for the 2011 National Christmas Tree Lighting will open this Thursday, November 3, at 10am and will run until November 7 at 9:59pm. To enter, go to Recreation.gov. (Ticket seekers without access to a computer may also call 877.444.6777 or for TDD 877.833.6777.) Be sure to apply for enough tickets (limit five per entry), as every attendee, including children, must have one. Lottery results will be available starting Thursday, November 10 — you can check back on the website then to see if you hit the DC holiday jackpot.

Good Luck!


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