Lottery opens Thursday for National Christmas Tree Lighting

The White House is seen in the background after the National Christmas Tree was lit on Dec. 1, 2011, at the Ellipse south of the White House. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – With Halloween decorations all around, it may seem a little early to start thinking about Christmas. But now’s the time to get moving for those wanting to land a spot at the big holiday event in the nation’s capital.

This year’s National Christmas Tree Lighting will be held on Friday, Dec. 6. An online lottery for free tickets was slated to open to the public Thursday at 10 a.m.

There are 3,000 seats and 14,000 standing-room tickets available, according to the National Park Foundation. The lottery closes at 10 a.m. Monday and winners will be notified by Nov. 7.

Neil Patrick Harris, Colbie Caillat, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, The Fray, Jason Mraz and James Taylor appeared at last year’s event.

This year’s celebrity performers have not yet been announced. A United States military band will perform, and the president, as always, is invited to light the tree.

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