Washington, D.C., shines brightest when Santa comes to town.
The holiday season officially begins December 7, when the President lights the 40-foot-tall Colorado spruce during the annual Pageant of Peace concert and tree-lighting ceremony. The National Park Service gives away a limited number of tickets, but the tree stays lit throughout the season. Local music groups perform each evening from 6 to 8:30 p.m. through the end of December, except Christmas
left: General Electric designs the lights for the National Christmas Tree.