Thursday, December 06, 2012

Tonight: President Obama, First Family Celebrate 90th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting

Celebrity musical program includes James Taylor, The Fray, Jason Mraz, Phillip Phillips...
UPDATE:  Click her for the post about the event President Obama and his family will celebrate the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on Thursday evening during a rollicking ceremony on the Ellipse, located just across a small access road from the White House's South Lawn.  The President will deliver remarks at about 5:05 PM ET, before throwing the switch to light the giant blue spruce tree.  (Above:  The First Family during the 2010 ceremony)

Actor Neil Patrick Harris, star of How I Met Your Mother, will emcee the event.  Singer-songwriter James Taylor will headline the musical program, which includes Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Ledisi, Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat, American Idol Season winner Phillip Phillips, the band The Fray, and the U.S. Navy Band jazz ensemble the Commodores.  Modern Family actor Rico Rodriguez will also appear for the ceremony, which begins at 4:30 PM. 

This year's tree is new, transplanted to the Ellipse in October after last year's tree died of transplant shock.  That tree replaced a tree that grew for more than 30 years on the Ellipse before it was felled by high winds in February 2011.

President Calvin Coolidge started the National Tree Lighting tradition in 1923, when he lit a live 48-foot fir decorated with 2,500 electric bulbs.

The event will be livestreamed on wh.gov/live and at thenationaltree.org/tree-lighting.

*Photo by Pete Souza/White House