Barack Obama Lights National Christmas Tree

Posted: Dec. 7th, 2012  |  By Michael Pearse
Michael Reynolds/EPA

With the ceremonial lighting of the 28-foot Colorado blue spruce tree serving as this year's National Christmas Tree, President Barack Obama has officially kicked off the holiday season in Washington D.C. Though received more as a headache than a holiday event by local residents, attendants swarmed the capitol city for a chance to witness the charming holiday tradition.

President Barack Obama lit a new National Christmas Tree at a traditional ceremony Thursday outside the White House that officially kicks off the holiday season in the nation’s capital.

The president was joined by the first lady and their two daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, when he led a dramatic countdown before more than 17,000 guests and lit the tree.

Television and Broadway actor Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 90th annual tree-lighting ceremony, which featured musical performances by Colbie Caillat, James Taylor, Jason Mraz and The Fray. During the ceremony, first lady Michelle Obama read the story "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" with "Modern Family" actor Rico Rodriguez.

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