White House Christmas tree donated by New Mexico, with Washington Monument to the right.
In November 1923, First Lady Grace Coolidge gave permission for the DC Public Schools to erect a Christmas tree on the Ellipse south of the White House. The organizers named the tree the National Christmas Tree. That Christmas Eve, President Calvin Coolidge walked to the Ellipse and pushed the button to light the 48-foot Balsam fir, as 3,000 enthusiastic spectators looked on.
In 1954, local civic and business groups created the Christmas Pageant of Peace. The 2005 Christmas Pageant of Peace runs from December 1, through January 1, with free evening musical presentations.