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2012 White House Christmas tree lighting

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

2012 marks the 90th annual holiday lighting of the National Christmas tree

Photo of 2010 National Christmas Tree courtesy of National Park Service  Tonight the first family will be lighting up the National Christmas tree, kicking off the holiday season for the nation's capital.


Photo of 2010 National Christmas Tree courtesy of National Park Service 

Tonight the first family will be lighting up the National Christmas tree, kicking off the holiday season for the nation's capital.


President Obama will be turning on the lights with the First Lady and daughters Malia and Sasha. The tree-lighting ceremony is scheduled for 5:05 pm ET and kicks off the holiday festivities at the White House.

Celeb favorite Neil Patrick Harris is scheduled to host the event and performances will be given by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Ledisi, Jason Mraz, James Taylor and The Fray.

2012 marks the 90th annual holiday lighting of the National Christmas tree. The tradition first began in 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge lit the tree on Christmas Eve.

When Jimmy Carter was president in 1973, a live tree was planted and used throughout the year. The tree has been replaced several times due to weather or disease and this year's tree is rather young. It was transplanted this October by the National Park Service. Hopefully the 28-foot Colorado blue spruce can survive.

The Capitol Christmas Tree is part of a larger outdoor display which according to the National Park Service includes 56 smaller trees--one for each state, the five territories, and the District of Columbia. The trees will be on display throughout the Pathway of Peace and includes thousands of ornaments and decorations.

A large-scale model train and Santa's workshop will also be on display.

After the kick-off tree lighting ceremony, the White House Christmas tree will be lit nightly from dusk to 11:00pm during the holiday season, starting on December 7, 2012 and ending on January 1, 2013.
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