The Obama Family Starts New Tradition at National Tree Lighting Ceremony
11:18 AM EDT
Last night President Obama was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, their daughters Malia and Sasha and "Grandmother in Chief" Marian Robinson to light a brand new National Christmas Tree in the President's Park outside the White House. This year's tree replaces one that was part of the national tradition for 30 years , until it was lost in a storm earlier this year.
In his remarks, the President wished Americans "the merriest of Christmases" and reminded everyone to keep the central message of the holiday season in their hearts:
In this season of hope, let’s help those who need it most –- the homeless, the hungry, the sick and shut in. In this season of plenty, let’s reach out to those who struggle to find work or provide for their families. In this season of generosity, let’s give thanks and honor to our troops and our veterans, and their families who've sacrificed so much for us. And let’s welcome all those who are happily coming home.
And this holiday season, let us reaffirm our commitment to each other, as family members, as neighbors, as Americans, regardless of our color or creed or faith. Let us remember that we are one, and we are a family.
Continuing another tradition, the First Lady read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the crowd before the lighting ceremony began, and this year she was joined by Kermit the Frog.
View photos from the event and watch the President's remarks and the First Lady's reading below.
Watch the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony here.
President Barack Obama, with mother-in-law Marian Robinson, daughters Malia and Sasha, and First Lady Michelle Obama, react after pushing the button to light the National Christmas Tree during a ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Watch First Lady Michelle Obama read 'The Night Before Christmas' with Kermit the Frog here.