The National Christmas Tree Lighting event will this year be co-hosted by actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson. The National Park Service made the announcement on Wednesday along with a host of musical performers for the event.

Tom Hanks Rita Wilson
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson will host the National Tree Lighting in Washington D.C. next week

Hanks, star of countless box office smashes and critically-acclaimed masterpieces down the years, will appear with his wife Rita, who is also an actress and a singer, will appear at the Ellipse in President’s Park near the White House on Thursday December 4th to host the ceremony.

The tradition was started by Calvin Coolidge 92 years ago and, by tradition, Barack Obama and his family will also help light the tree. Musicians will perform festive tunes as well as some of their own hits, and the bill this year includes R&B star Ne-Yo, Nico & Vinz, Steve Miller, Patti LaBelle, country singer Chely Wright, popsters Fifth Harmony and vocal group The Tenors. Tickets for the annual event are distributed through a lottery.

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Tom Hanks is surely close to ‘national treasure’ status in America. He won Oscars for Best Actor in consecutive years for his roles in Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994), and has been nominated in the same category on three other occasions. He was the star of two of 2013’s most respected movies, Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks.

While he hasn’t starred in anything in 2014, he is set to feature in at least three movies next year. A Hologram for the King, Ithaca and St. James Place are all either currently filming or in post-production. He has kept himself busy, though, having landed a deal to publish a collection of short stories earlier this month and with his typewriter app ‘Hanx Writer’ topping the Apple iTunes store back in August.

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