It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the White House!
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the 94th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse at the White House on Thursday evening, where they lit the tree for their final time as the first family.
The Obamas, along with their younger daughter, Sasha, 15, took the stage following a musical performance by Kelly Clarkson and introduction by host Eva Longoria. The president spoke briefly to the crowd gathered on the Ellipse, saying, “To everybody who’s here tonight and everybody watching at home, it is now officially the time to light this tree!”
After leading the cheering crowd in a 5-second countdown, the president officially lit up the tree and wished everyone a “Merry Christmas” as Michelle and Sasha waved to the audience. The president and first lady smiled and held hands as they left the stage with their daughter.
Lucky guests at the star-studded event — who won tickets through a lottery held in October — were then treated to performances from some of the biggest names in music, including Garth Brooks, Chance the Rapper, James Taylor, Trisha Yearwood, The Lumineers and Yolanda Adams.
The Obamas watched the performances from the crowd, and Sasha was spotted singing along to Chance the Rapper as he performed his hit “Sunday Candy.”
The National Christmas Tree is a Colorado blue spruce that was planted on the Ellipse in 2012 after the longstanding previous tree was felled by high winds in 2011, according to NBC News. The tree is adorned with LED energy-efficient red, white and blue lights, as well as stars and sugar plum ornaments, The Washington Post reports.
Anyone who missed seeing the tree lighting in person can catch the whole show on the Hallmark Channel on Monday at 7 p.m.