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Posted at 12:23 PM ET, 10/21/2010

National Christmas Tree to light up the Ellipse on Dec. 9

By Alex Baldinger

I know, it still seems early, but today's a big day for Christmas enthusiasts in the D.C. area. If that's you, feel free to stop carving your jack-o'-lantern for just a moment, because you'll want to hear this.

The National Park Service has formally announced the date for the lighting of the national Christmas tree on the Ellipse: Thursday, Dec. 9. How does one obtain tickets to this yuletide bonanza? As in years past, it's an online lottery system.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 5, visit to add your name to the list for one of the 3,000 ticketed seats or 10,000 standing room tickets. Lottery registration will stay open until 11:59 p.m. Nov. 7. If you don't have a computer (how are you reading this?) you can also register for the lottery by calling 877-444-6777.

Then, the waiting game begins. After the lottery is completed, winners will be notified by e-mail. You can also check your status on the Web site beginning Nov. 10.

By the way, Hanukkah on the Ellipse is coming Dec. 1. Tickets for lighting of the national Menorah can be requested through

-- Alex Baldinger

By Alex Baldinger  | October 21, 2010; 12:23 PM ET
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