President Barack Obama and his family attended the National Christmas Tree lighting for the final time on Thursday.
The First Family, excluding Obama’s daughter Malia, lit the tree at the 94th annual Christmas Tree lighting that took place on the Ellipse, a park located south of the White House. After taking the stage, the president had the audience involved in counting down from five before pressing the button that lit up the tree in colors of red, white and blue.
National Christmas Tree Lighting: First Family lights up Christmas tree at the White House
Eva Longoria was the host for the evening. Kelly Clarkson, Chance the Rapper, Garth Brooks, James Taylor, Yolanda Adams and the Mulineers performed at the event. First Lady Michelle Obama and Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to a group of children on the stage.
Obama also indulged in one of his Christmas jokes he is so known for. “Last week, I pardoned the turkey. Tonight, we’re lighting the National Christmas Tree,” he said.
“This one is easier because the tree does not move, it does not gobble. You just push a button and it’s electrified, which is exactly what you don’t want to happen at the turkey pardon.”
National Christmas Tree Lighting: ‘I still believe there’s so much more that unites us than divides us’
Amid celebrations and the joy that Christmas brings, Obama reminded the audience that it is also the occasion for reflection and perspective, and to fulfill the message that our Saviour brought to the Earth 2,000 years ago.
“After eight years as your president, I still believe there’s so much more that unites us than divides us,” he said.