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KPBS Holiday Programming

The National Christmas Tree Lighting 2012

Airs Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

The National Christmas Tree Lighting 2012

Airs Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and Marian Robinson participate in the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 6, 2012.

Celebrating its 90th year, the lighting of the National Christmas Tree signals the start of the holiday season across the country. Taped at President's Park in Washington, D.C., the 60-minute special will feature performances and readings by top musical artists and actors. The evening's festivities will be capped off by the ceremonial lighting of the National Christmas Tree by a very special guest!

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

First Lady Michelle Obama reads “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” with Rico Rodriguez to children onstage during the lighting of the National Christmas Tree event on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 6, 2012.

Interactive Timeline

Explore American history through the story of a favorite holiday tradition - the lighting of the national Christmas tree.

Decorate Your Own Christmas Tree

Create and decorate your own Christmas tree and send it to friends and family.

Send Holiday Cheer

Share holiday cheer with your friends and family by sending our exclusive holiday-themed email postcards. Send a postcard now »

The program is hosted by Neil Patrick Harris with performances by Colbie Caillat, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, The Fray, Ledisi, Jason Mraz, Phillip Phillips, James Taylor and more. Plus a special guest appearance by MODERN FAMILY's Rico Rodriquez.

This year marks GE’s 50th year providing the design and lights for the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. This year also marks the 90th lighting of the National Tree. The new lighting design reflects elements of past designs and celebrates these impressive milestones.

The lighting design for this year’s National Christmas Tree includes approximately 450 LED light strings and 120 star ornaments, for a total of just under 4000 watts. If this same design were to be implemented with standard incandescent holiday lights, approximately 20,000 watts would be required.

Over the course of the holiday lighting season, the environmental impact of this energy savings is the avoidance of burning about one ton of coal, and a 4000-pound reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Presented by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation

National Park Foundation is on Facebook, and you can follow @GoParks on Twitter.

Video

President Obama Lights the National Christmas Tree

Above: President Obama speaks before the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse. December 6, 2012.

Video

The First Lady Receives the 2012 White House Christmas Tree

Above: The First Lady is presented with the White House Christmas Tree, which will be displayed in the Blue Room of the White House. November 23, 2012.

Video

First Lady Previews the 2012 White House Holiday Decorations

Above: First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes military families, including Gold Star and Blue Star parents, spouses and children, to the White House for the first viewing of the 2012 holiday decorations.

Video

Bo Inspects the 2012 White House Holiday Decorations

Above: Bo makes a final inspection of the 2012 White House Christmas decorations before 90,000 visitors come through the doors of the People's House this holiday season. Find out more about the 2012 White House Holiday celebrations, including the special tributes to troops, veterans and military families at wh.gov/holidays.

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