First Family Lights National Christmas Tree

Christmas at the White House

The first family joined performers onstage for a song at the official lighting of the National Christmas Tree on the White House Ellipse. Photo by Cheriss May, Howard University News Service

WASHINGTON – On a brisk December night, the First Family joined hundreds of people to officially light the 2015 National Christmas Tree Thursday on the White House Ellipse. 

The ceremony was hosted by Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon and featured performances from musical trio David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash;

Betty Reid Soskin. 
Photo by Cheriss May, Howard University News Service

Fall Out Boy, Andra Day, Aloe Blacc, Scandal’s Bellamy Young, Kelsea Ballerini, Tori Kelly, Trombone Shorty, the Joyous String Ensemble and the United States Coast Guard Band.

There was also a special appearance by Miss Piggy. 

The oldest full-time park ranger, 94-year-old Betty Reid Soskin, introduced President Obama. Soskin works five days a week at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, Calif.

Trombone Shorty performs with the United States Coast Guard
Band. Photo by Cheriss May, Howard University News Service

“Merry Christmas everybody, and thank you, Betty, for that introduction, for your extraordinary service as one of our park rangers, and for all of your –- and your great-grandmother’s -– contributions to this country," Obama said.  “I want tips from Betty on how I can look that good at 94.”  

After leading the crowd in a countdown, the president, First Lady Michelle Obama, their daughters, Malia and Sasha, and Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, took the stage to light the tree at the 93rd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting.

"So on behalf of Michelle, and Malia, and Sasha, and Grandma, and Bo and Sunny (the family’s dogs), happy holiday to all of you," Obama said.