President Barack Obama and his family flipped the switch that lit the National Christmas Tree on Thursday evening, bringing cheers from the huge crowd that gathered for a tradition that has been ongoing for nearly a century.
During the ceremony, which took place on the Ellipse near the White House, the president expressed hope that this year's tree -- a 28-feet blue spruce -- lasts longer than its predecessor, which died after just a year.
"Our tree has been having a hard time recently," said Obama, who was surrounded by his wife, two daughters and mother-in law. "This is our third one in as many years," he added, noting that a tree which stood near the White House for more than 30 years, was destroyed during a storm in early 2011. Its replacement didn't take hold.
"It just goes to show, nobody's job is safe here in Washington," Obama joked.
The ceremony was hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother. Performances that included a variety of holiday song favorites, was provided by recording artists Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Ledisi, Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat and James Taylor, along with the band The Fray.
The ceremony, which took place amid good weather, attracted crowd of about 17,000 people.
Source: Huffington Post