Obama family lights Washington Christmas tree

WASHINGTON Thu Dec 1, 2011 7:21pm EST

President Barack Obama and the first family arrive to take part in the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in Washington December 1, 2011.    REUTERS/Molly Riley

President Barack Obama and the first family arrive to take part in the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in Washington December 1, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Molly Riley

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and his family lit a new National Christmas Tree on Thursday evening as they attended a festive holiday concert.

On a stage decorated with white lights and snowflakes, the president, his two daughters Sasha and Malia, First Lady Michelle Obama and her mother Marian Robinson, flipped the switch to light up the 26-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce.

Speaking to an audience of hundreds, Obama briefly retold the story of the birth of Jesus Christ and linked the religious leader to his own faith.

"And He grew up to become a leader with a servant's heart who taught us a message as simple as it is powerful: that we should love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves. That teaching has come to encircle the globe. It has endured for generations and today it lies at the heart of my Christian faith and that of millions of Americans," he said.

Headlining the event held at the Ellipse south of the White House was television and radio personality Carson Daly and performers Big Time Rush, Ellie Goulding, One Republic and others.

Kermit the Frog and Santa Clause also made appearances after an impromptu reading by the First Lady of "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

The new National Christmas Tree was planted in March. It is from a New Jersey nursery.

A storm felled the previous tree in February.

The ceremony marked the 89th year for the tree lighting. President Calvin Coolidge started the tradition in 1923.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson and Lily Kuo; Editing by Greg McCune)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
GalacticCat wrote:
A I just hate these staged Political set ups. Its so disingenuous. Did you people see the pics when the tree arrived . And 5 people stood there looking like they were at a funeral. The only thing worse than political speeches is, political choreographed and censored stage shows. Like this is.

Dec 01, 2011 10:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus