National Christmas Tree Lighting: How to Watch, Live Stream Trump Appearance, Musical Performances

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will help Washington, D.C. deck the halls by lighting the National Christmas tree on Thursday.

Former President Calvin Coolidge established the tradition in 1923 and it's been carried on by each succeeding president. In its 97th year, Thursday's festivities will once again take place in President's Park and feature a number of musical performances.

To attend the festivities in person, attendees had to win a ticket through a free lottery. For those who weren't lucky enough to win or maybe didn't even enter, they can join in on the holiday fun from the comfort of their own home.

The National Parks Foundation confirmed the president and first lady will attend Thursday's event and Ovation and REELZ will broadcast footage of the Trumps' appearance and the musical performances on Monday. REELZ's broadcast is set to begin at 8 p.m. EST and Ovation's will start an hour later, at 9 p.m.

Along with watching on television, viewers can tune in to Ovation and REELZ programming through their mobile apps. However, to access content, viewers will be asked to provide the username and password for a valid cable subscription.

national christmas tree lighting watch live stream
President Donald Trump speaks as first lady Melania Trump looks on during the 96th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting at The Ellipse in President’s Park on November 28, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Both Donald and Melania Trump are expected to attend the tree lighting on Thursday, as well. Paul Morigi/Getty

If a person doesn't have the credentials necessary to watch content, they may be able to take advantage of a free trial and watch the festivities that way.

This year's event has eight performers, including top-notch professionals such as Jessie James Decker, Spensha Baker and Colton Dixon. Chevel Shepherd, a 17-year-old who won the 15th season of The Voice, is also set to perform, joining the younger faces of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and West Tennessee Youth Chorus.

Two of America's military branches will take the stage to spread holiday cheer, as well. Max Impact, the Air Force's rock band, and The President's Own, the Marine Corps' band are slated to perform.

Ahead of the event, the Metropolitan Police Department announced a number of road closures for vehicular traffic beginning at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

  • 17th Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and Independence Avenue, SW
  • C Street between 17th Street and 18th Street, NW
  • D Street between 17th Street and 18th Street, NW
  • E Street between 17th Street and 18th Street, NW
  • F Street between 17th Street and 18th Street, NW
  • G Street between 17th Street and 18th Street, NW
  • New York Avenue between 17th Street and 18th Streets, NW
  • Constitution Avenue between 18th Street and 14th Street, NW
  • 15th Street between H Street and Madison Drive, NW (Traffic can flow south on 15th Street from Madison Drive)
  • Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th Street and 15th Street, NW
  • E Street between 14th Street and 15th Street, NW
  • F Street between 14th Street and 15th Street, NW
  • G Street between 14th Street and 15th Street, NW
  • New York Avenue between 14th Street and 15th Street, NW

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, cars were also prohibited from parking on 17th Street between Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue, NW, Constitution Avenue between 18th Street and 14th Street, NW and 15th Street between H Street and Constitution Avenue, NW.

Both parking restrictions and road closures were expected to lift at 8 p.m.

The Trumps attended the National Christmas tree lighting in 2017 and 2018, as well, offering a message on both occasions to viewers and attendees.

"No matter one's faith or beliefs, the Christmas season reflects all that is best in the American spirit," Trump said in 2018. "This is a time of the year for rejoicing with our family and friends, for spreading charity and goodwill in our commitment all over this country in all of our communities, and for giving thanks for all of the blessings in our lives."

After the 30-foot Colorado blue spruce is lit on Thursday, it will remain lit from about 4:30 p.m. EST until midnight each day and stay up until January 1.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Ovation's broadcast was at 8 p.m. and REELZ's was at 9 p.m.