Thursday, December 9, 2010

The National Christmas Tree Lighting

The National Christmas Tree Lighting is a ticketed event. Like many DC events open to the public, you have to enter a lottery to win tickets. My DC girlfriends and I decided that we had to go, so each of us entered. We may have also asked all of our family and close friends to enter as well. In the end, we won 20 tickets (15 standing and 5 seated)!!! We only needed about 10 tickets, so you can imagine how happy we were to have 20!!!

Unfortunately for me, tonight was also my work Holiday Party. I found this out the day I had entered lottery, knowing that it was out of my hands. If I won, great! I would go to the lighting, If I lost, great! I could go to my work party. Well, I obviously won tickets so I decided to go to the lighting.

I am glad to have gone to the National Christmas Tree Lighting, but I will be honest, it was little bittersweet missing my work Holiday Party especially since I am also missing my Department Lunch for a trip to New York City next week (my vacation was planned before the lunch). I guess I have to celebrate my own way, by bringing in home-baked Holiday cookies for my coworkers!

Now, on to the lighting... BUT first a few fun facts!!! The 2010 Tree is the most energy efficient National Tree. The first National Christmas Tree was lit on Christmas Eve 1923 by President Calvin Coolidge on the Ellipse. The tree has moved to other locations in years past, but has been at its current location in 1954. The current National Christmas Tree has been on the Ellipse since 1978 when it was 15 years old and 30 feet tall. The tree has been lit 32 times since it was brought to Washington and now stands at almost 42 feet. Since the tree is planted on the Ellipse, you could visit it any time of year, it just may not be lit ;)

Since the majority of our tickets were for standing room, the group of girls took them, and I gave our seated tickets to our roommate and some of Jay's classmates. Below is our view of the tree and jumbotron. We could see the stage but it was an obstructed view. The stage is to the right of the picture below.

With 20 tickets we were able to invite lots of friends!!! Unfortunately, I did not get a group picture, but I did get one of the girls!

And we got to invite our friend Paul.

The ceremony had lots of great musical guests including Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Jim James, Jackie Evancho, B.B. King, and Maroon 5.

B.B. King was amazing to see live. I mean, he is a LEGEND!!! But, I have to admit the one preformance that really took my breath away was Jackie Evancho. Um, she is like 10 years old and has an amazing voice!!!!

And of course, besides all the musical acts, the main highlight was seeing the President and the first family (grandma in chief included).

Mrs. Obama even read The Night Before Christmas!! She may or may not have skipped a page, but she recovered well and we all laughed with her. She also got a stronger applause than her husband... which honestly does not surprise me. First Wives tend to have a higher approval rating than their husbands. Did you know that Laura Bush has one of the highest approval ratings?

And, the National Menorah is also close by!

And some horses just for fun!

Do you attend a tree lighting in your community?