Bidens Attend National Christmas Tree Lighting in DC

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden hosted the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington’s President’s Park on Wednesday night, November 30.

Footage released by the White House shows the Bidens count down to the tree’s lighting with ceremony attendees.

“For 100 years, Americans have gathered at the White House to celebrate the holiday season with the lighting of the National Christmas Tree,” the president said in an addresss after the tree had been lit. “Through seasons [of] struggle and strife, progress and prosperity, for a century and counting, we’ve come together in a spirit of unity and joy, hope and light — and so we do today, with an eternal spirit of our nation as well.” Credit: The White House via Storyful

Video transcript

LL COOL J: Welcome one and all to our National Christmas Tree lighting celebrating 100 years.


As Shania Twain just reminded us all so beautifully, it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. So thank you, Shania. And on this not so silent tonight here in the heart of our nation's capital, it's beginning to look exactly like the 100th lighting of our National Christmas Tree, right? Because for a century now, people of all faiths representing the major political parties have been gathering right here to celebrate with this beautiful view of the people's house-- the White House. In times of peace and times of war, through 10 eventful decades of American history, Americans have been coming together here in the generous spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood to spread comfort and joy and shed a little light-- a lot of light, because it's a pretty big tree. It's 30 feet tall, all right?

Listen, we know these are tense times for a lot of people in this country and around the world. Even around the holiday table, those tensions can flare up and remind us of those things that so often divide us. But through 17 American presidents, no matter what separated us, Americans have found some common ground here during the season of lights and giving. So when the next hour, we'll be lighting this tree as well as lighting things up musically, with the help of some wonderful artists in multiple genres, singing older and newer songs of this season that will light up this night at the White House.

You ready? And so it is my great honor to stand here with all of you and introduce our hosts, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.


JOE BIDEN: Hello, hello, hello. Well, I want to say we're delighted to be here. And we're going to do a little thing right now. Hang on, a second. You ready?

LL COOL J: We're ready.

JOE BIDEN: You hit that switch.

LL COOL J: All right, is everybody ready for the big time tree? Are you ready?

JOE BIDEN: Is everybody having a good time? Well, let's kick off the evening by lighting up the star of the show, the National Christmas Tree. Everybody, ready. Let's count this down together.

- 5, 4 3, 2, 1. Here we go.

JOE BIDEN: OK. Oh, and beautiful.


DEB HAALAND: Good evening, everyone. It's an honor to welcome you all to Presidents Park, one of 423 national parks across the United States, to celebrate the 100th lighting of the National Christmas Tree. This event brings together people of all backgrounds to celebrate the holidays and reflect on the past year. The first lighting, 100 years ago, was inspired by a student letter to President Calvin Coolidge. On Christmas Eve 1923, President Coolidge walked out to the circle and lit the first National Christmas Tree to the astonishment of those in attendance.

Tonight, 100 years later, we continue this joyful holiday tradition. For my family and for so many cultures across the country, this time of year is marked by beautiful traditions. No matter how your family celebrates this special season, I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday and warm wishes for a wonderful new year.


Now, I have the great honor and privilege of introducing a couple that leads with compassion and integrity, and who I am so incredibly proud to serve with, President of the United States, Joe Biden, and First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden.


JOE BIDEN: This won't take more than half an hour. Thank you, Secretary Haaland, for that introduction. And Merry Christmas to everyone. On behalf of Jill and Carmel and Doug and I, we welcome you all to the National Christmas Tree lighting. Thanks for tonight's host, LL Cool J, and all the great incredible performers who are here. As a matter of fact, I don't know how they did it with just that one beautiful lady coming out-- anyway, long story. Freezing.

But special thanks to National Park Service, National Parks Foundation, which takes such great care of our national parks, including right here tonight at Presidents Park. For 100 years, Americans have gathered at the White House to celebrate the holiday season with the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. Through seasons, and struggle and strife, progress and prosperity, for a century and counting, we've come together in a spirit of unity and joy, hope and light. And so we do today, with eternal spirit of our nation as well.

Earlier this week, Jill unveiled the theme of this year's holiday at the White House-- we, the people, the very idea of America, the first words of our Constitution, the beating heart of our democracy, an enduring reminder that America has many, many strengths. But our greatest strength is America's standing united. And during this holiday season, reflect on our blessings that despite our differences, there are far more things that unite us as one America-- common values like liberty, opportunity, dignity, respect, and honor and compassion. In the season of fellowship and goodwill, we remember those values. And we seek to make them real for each other.

We also hold in our hearts everyone who is missing a loved one tonight and through this Christmas season. We're grateful for all those who console and give them comfort. That's America, a nation full of talent and aspirations, daring and undaunted, a nation that hurts and heals, but never, never, never, ever gives up. We're the only nation in the world that comes out of every crisis we've encountered stronger than we went in. That's we the people.

And so on this sacred season of joy and hope, let's join together with confidence in a singular American belief in anything is possible because that's what I see in the American people. You're the reason why I've never been more optimistic in about our future and just have to remember who we are. We're the United States of America. And there's nothing, nothing, beyond our capacity if we do it together. So from the Biden family to yours, Merry Christmas, America. God bless you all. And may God protect our troops. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Good night.