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President Obama Lights National Christmas Tree

Posted: December 6, 2013

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The ceremony dates back to 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge presided over the first National Christmas Tree lighting.

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, applaud after lightng the National Christmas Tree at a ceremony across from the White House in Washington, on Friday.

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, applaud after lightng the National Christmas Tree at a ceremony across from the White House in Washington, on Friday. Charles Dharapak

President Obama threw the switch on the National Christmas Tree on Friday amid a constant rain that soaked many of the estimated 17,000 attendees.

"We're going to start at 5 since it's a little wet and we shouldn't start at 10," the president said before hitting the switch that lit the giant tree.

The ceremony was accompanied by celebrity performances from Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin and others.

You can watch the festivities here or follow on Twitter at #nctl2013:

The annual event has been tradition since President Calvin Coolidge performed the first lighting in 1923.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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