'Tis the season! 101 years ago in 1923, President Calvin Coolidge started the tradition of the National Christmas Tree Lighting that we know and still do today! According to the event's website, he walked over from the White House to The Ellipse, a park south of the presidential building, to light up a "48-foot fir tree decorated with 2,500 electric bulbs in red, white and green." There was also a local choir, as well as a U.S. Marine Band quartet to provide music. And so, a tradition was born!
Get ready to watch the 2023 National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on TV! The event already happened in-person on Nov. 30, 2023. But now CBS is bringing us the recorded broadcast for those of us who weren't in Washington D.C. So when do you need to tune in? The 2023 National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony airs tonight, Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
You can access the network through multiple platforms. The first and most obvious is through cable. Whether that's on television or signing onto the CBS website through your cable provider. But, there's other options too! If you have a subscription to Fubo, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, DIRECTV, and Sling, they all have provide CBS live as an option.
The ceremony will also be available to stream live on Paramount+ as well. The streamer offers the Paramount+ Essential tier (with ads) for $5.99/month and Paramount+ with Showtime (without ads) for $11.99/month.
You can watch on Paramount+ by following these steps:
- Visit the Paramount+ sign up page
- Select Paramount+ Essential or Paramount+ with Showtime
- Create an account by entering a username and password
- Enter your chosen payment method
- Login to start watching!
Release time by time zones
Of course this is a national event that many of us across the U.S. want to see! We provided the release time by time zone for you below:
- Eastern - 8 p.m. ET
- Pacific - 5 p.m. PT
- Central - 7 p.m. CT
- Mountain - 6 p.m. MT
The program kicks off with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden sharing a message, followed by a few other speakers. The event is hosted by country music artist Mickey Guyton, who is also one of the performers. Who else takes the stage? We've got the list for you below!
Tree Lighting Ceremony performers
The list of performers is an exciting one, with many talented artists showcasing their impressive singing skills in many different genres. We've got Glee star Darren Criss; jazz singer Samara Joy; guitarist, singer, and songwriter Joe Walsh from rock band Eagles, and more. Check out the full list of the 2023 National Christmas Tree Lighting performers below:
- Darren Criss
- Mickey Guyton
- Samara Joy
- Maddie & Tae
- St. Vincent
- Joe Walsh
- Dionne Warwick
- U.S. Coast Guard’s Guardians Big Band
Criss played Blaine Anderson when the character was introduced in season 2 in a recurring role. He later joined the cast as a series regular from season 3 to the end of the series, the sixth season. The actor and singer has appeared on Broadway, and has recorded albums. Those are Human, Homework, and Masquerade.
Guyton is a country music singer known for her debut song "Better Than You Left Me," "Black Like Me," and "Boys." Other than the rock band Eagles, Walsh's career in the industry also includes being a part of two other groups: James Gang and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. Warwick had a very successful career between 1955 and 1999, and is very known from the rock era. The artist has received six Grammy Awards.
If you're in D.C. during the holidays, you can visit the National Christmas Tree site for free. The tree will be up until Jan. 1, 2024, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Lights turn on at around sunset each day. More information is available on the National Park Service website.