How to watch the National Christmas Tree Lighting

National Christmas Tree 2023
(Image credit: Mary Kouw/CBS)

A US holiday tradition is decorating the National Christmas Tree that sits just outside of The White House in Washington, DC. But you don't have to be a DC local to see the event, as CBS hosts a special broadcast, the National Christmas Tree Lighting on Friday, December 15.

Just one of many Christmas TV highlights in the US this year, the National Christmas Tree Lighting joins Big Brother Reindeer Games, the lineup of Hallmark Channel Christmas movies and much more designed to get you into the holiday spirit this year.

Here is what you need to know about how to watch the National Christmas Tree Lighting broadcast.

When is the National Christmas Tree Lighting

The official National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony took place on November 30, but only DC locals and those who win a special lottery get to attend. Viewers around the country can watch the National Christmas Tree Lighting: Celebrating 100 Years broadcast on Friday, December 15, at 8 pm ET/PT on CBS (also streaming live on Paramount Plus).

The broadcast is available for on-demand viewing starting December 16 on Paramount Plus and

How to watch National Christmas Tree Lighting

With the National Christmas Tree Lighting broadcast airing on CBS, it is easy for anyone with a traditional cable subscription package to watch, as CBS is carried by all providers; you can also access your local CBS station through a TV antenna. But, if you've moved away from cable providers and are looking for live TV streaming services, Fubo, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV all carry CBS as part of their channel lineup, allowing subscribers to tune in for the festive treat.

Paramount Plus subscribers also have the option to watch live, as the streaming service provides live access to local CBS stations, but you must be a Paramount Plus with Showtime subscriber for that ability. If you are a Paramount Plus Essential subscriber, you have to wait a day for the special to be available on demand.

National Christmas Tree Lighting host

Grammy-nominee Mickey Guyton is taking on the hosting duties for the National Christmas Tree Lighting broadcast; she is also set to serve as a performer. But she is not the only big name set to appear, as you'll see below.

National Christmas Tree Lighting performers

A number of big names are set to appear as performers on the National Christmas Tree Lighting special. Here's a complete look at the lineup, all of which are going to be singing holiday staples:

  • Darren Criss
  • Mickey Guyton
  • Samara Joy
  • Ledisi
  • Reneé Rapp
  • St. Vincent
  • Joe Walsh
  • Dionne Warwick
  • United State Coast Guard's Guardians Big Band
Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.