Washington D.C. is finally in the holiday spirit after the first family lit the National Christmas Tree last night.
The whole Obama household came out to Presidential Park Thursday evening for the 88th National Tree Lighting. The event was hosted by Common, who joked that he could get the President and his people good seats for the show because of their “Chicago connection.”
The Obamas didn’t get to sit too long, though. After a performance by Sarah Bareillis and Ingrid Michaelson, and a quick benediction, President Barack Obama was introduced to make a few statements about the holiday event.
"This is a very proud holiday tradition. Snow or shine, in good times or in periods of hardship, folks like you have gathered with presidents to light our national tree," he said of the tree lighting, which has been done every year since 1923.
The President then called all of his favorite ladies on stage to help him light the Naitonal Christmas Tree, a 42-foot Blue Spruce from Colorado. Since it was such a cold night in D.C., Sasha and Malia bundled up in peacoats, caps and scarves. Michelle donned a gorgeous black and gold jacket designed by Narisco Rodriguez.
The first lady remained on stage to read “The Night Before Christmas” to an eager group of kids that huddled around her. Michelle had to take her gloves off after the functional accessories proved to complicate the whole page-turning process.
Michelle is a tough act to follow, but an extra jolly Santa Claus did a pretty good job with his rousing rendition of “Most Wonderful Time Of the Year.” Common seemed the most excited to see the man with bag, as he revealed that he’d been “waiting to meet Santa for, like, 30 years!”
The Chicago rapper than blessed the crowd with a Christmas-y freestyle as B.B. King made his way to the stage to introduce a little more soul to the ceremony. The night was rounded out with a performance by Maroon 5 and a message from one of Santa’s elves of Christmas Tree safety.
See the whole ceremony for yourself when you click here.
— Sonya Eskridge