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National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony 2012

Watch the ceremony online Thursday or visit the tree throughout the holiday season.

The National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony ticket lottery has closed, but people around the country and the world can still watch it online Thursday starting at 4:30 p.m.

According to the National Park Service (NPS) website:

"This year, experience the magic of the National Christmas Tree Lighting any time you want without ever leaving your home. Watch the pre-show and tree lighting ceremony starting at 4:30 pm ET on Thursday, Dec.  6. And following the live online stream, the show will be available anytime on-demand right here."

NPS planted the new tree on the Ellipse in late October just before Hurricane Sandy hit; the previous tree died of transplant shock.

The new National Christmas Tree, a 28-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce from Virginia, awaits its big moment. NPS has not announced this year's performance line-up, which usually includes choirs, dancers and other performers from around the country.

Throughout the holiday season at dusk the tree's lights are illuminated. Visitors can wander around the exhibit, which features miniature train sets and smaller trees with ornaments from around the country in addition to the decorated National Christmas Tree.

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