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Web: www.fathomevents.com/performingarts/event/nutcracker2012.aspx

Holiday: National Christmas Tree Lighting

For 90 years, Washington’s Ellipse has been the home of the National Christmas Tree and a multidenominational Pageant of Peace holiday celebration. The first tree — 48 feet tall and covered in 2,500 twinkling lights — was lit by President Coolidge in 1923, and a tree has been lit every year since. The National Christmas Tree is accompanied by 56 additional trees decorated for every state, territory and the District of Columbia, as well as impressive toy train displays, musical performances and more, making a visit a holiday tradition for many local families. On Thursday, President Obama will light this year’s tree — a Colorado blue spruce from Virginia planted at the site in October. The first family will be joined by musicians including James Taylor, Babyface and others for the week’s hot-ticket event. If you didn’t get a ticket through the lottery, you’ll no doubt be able to hear the festivities nearby on the Ellipse, or you can watch the live stream online.

Thursday at the Ellipse at President’s Park, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Phone: 877/444-6777

Web: www.thenationaltree.org