National Mall

National Mall

Lottery to open for D.C. Christmas tree lighting

November 2, 2009, 7:05 am

The National Park Service will hold an online lottery this week to distribute tickets for the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in December.

The lottery opens at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday and runs through 11:59 p.m. on Friday. Nearly 10,000 free tickets will be distributed, including 7,000 standing-room tickets for the first time.

The tree lighting is scheduled for Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. on the Ellipse near the White House.

Park service spokesman Bill Line says this is the first time an online lottery has been used for the ticket distribution. In the past, ticket seekers had to line up on a Saturday morning and tickets were given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. The new system will be open to visitors from outside the Washington area.