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5, 4, 3, 2, 1… The Obama Family Lights The National Christmas Tree

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Schulman

President Barack Obama, with mother-in-law Marian Robinson, daughters Sasha and Malia, and First Lady Michelle Obama, react as they push the button to light the National Christmas Tree during a ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Ed. Note: Watch the full National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and show with musical performances by B.B. King, Sara Bareilles, Common, Maroon 5 and more at www.thenationaltree.org.

Last night, the First Family continued a proud holiday tradition – lighting the National Christmas Tree for the 88th time. View photos from the event and watch a video of the President’s remarks, the tree lighting ceremony, and a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by the First Lady.

President Barack Obama addresses the crowd as he and the First Family attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama and First Family listen to the program at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

BB King performs Merry Christmas Baby at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The National Christmas Tree shines bright during the lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

“Snow or shine, in good times and in periods of hardship, folks like you have gathered with Presidents to light our national tree,” said President Obama, “Now, it hasn’t always gone off without a hitch. On one occasion, two sheep left the safety of the Nativity scene and wandered into rush-hour traffic. That caused some commotion.”

He continued, touching on the history of the ceremony and taking a moment to honor the men and women that are serving in uniform overseas this holiday season:

Often, the ceremony itself has reflected the pain and sacrifice of the times. There were years during the Second World War when no lights were hung, in order to save electricity. In the days following Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill joined President Roosevelt to wish our nation a Happy Christmas even in such perilous days.

But without fail, each year, we have gathered here. Each year we’ve come together to celebrate a story that has endured for two millennia. It’s a story that’s dear to Michelle and me as Christians, but it’s a message that’s universal: A child was born far from home to spread a simple message of love and redemption to every human being around the world.

It’s a message that says no matter who we are or where we are from, no matter the pain we endure or the wrongs we face, we are called to love one another as brothers and as sisters.

And so during a time in which we try our hardest to live with a spirit of charity and goodwill, we remember our brothers and sisters who have lost a job or are struggling to make ends meet. We pray for the men and women in uniform serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and in faraway places who can’t be home this holiday season. And we thank their families, who will mark this Christmas with an empty seat at the dinner table.

On behalf of Malia, Sasha, Michelle, Marian — who’s our grandmother-in-chief — (laughter) -– and Bo — don’t forget Bo — (applause) — I wish all of you a merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season.

And now I’m going to invite the entire Obama crew up here to help me light this Christmas tree. (Applause.)

All right, everybody, we’re going to count from five — five, four, three, two, one.

(The tree is lit.) (Applause.)

Merry Christmas, everybody!

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First Lady Michele Obama Receives the White House Christmas Tree

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First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia are joined by Chris Botek and his wife Brandi as the First Family receives the White House Christmas Tree for 2010, on November 26, 2010 at the White House in Washington, DC. The 18 1/2 foot Douglas fir tree comes from Chris Botek’s tree farm in Lehighton, PA.

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First Family Helps Families At Food Pantry

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President Barack Obama packs and gives bags of food to area residents, with the help of his daughters Sasha and Malia, and first lady Michelle Obama, and first grandmother Marion Robinson, ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday at Martha’s Table on November 24, 2010 in Washington, DC. The Obama family delivered turkeys and bags of food to needy families at Martha’s Table, a 30-year-old non-profit that helps poor children, youth and families with food and clothing.

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President Obama Pardons Thanksgiving Turkey

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President Barack Obama talks with daughters Sasha and Malia in the Oval Office before pardoning a turkey named Apple in the Rose Garden, Nov. 24, 2010. President Obama also pardoned Cider, Apple’s alternate. After the event, Apple and Cider will be taken to a new residence at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.

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The Obama’s Leave Martha’s Vineyard and Arrive In New Orleans for 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

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President Barack Obama, his wife first lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia Obama, and daughter Sasha Obama board Marine One helicopter on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The First Family completed their 10-day vacation on Martha’s Vineyard and flew to Cape Cod to board Air Force One to head to New Orleans where the President is giving a speech today on the fifth year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

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The Obama’s Vacation Day 2 ~ Bunch Of Grapes Bookstore & Golfing in Martha’s Vineyard

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Chief White House correspondent for FOX News Channel Major Garrett works the phone while sitting on the porch of the Mansion House, press headquarters for the President’s visit. The sign reads:

Mansion House Inn believes anyone who has passed health care reform, signed economic stimulus bills, recast America’s global image, commands two war zones, won the Nobel Peace Prize, nominated 2 Supreme Court judges (and) overhauled financial regulations, deserves a great vacation. Thank you Mr. President.
(Photo by Nelson Sigelman)

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The Obama’s Vacation Day 1 ~ First Family Travels To Martha’s Vineyard

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President Barack Obama is taking his family back to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., for summer vacation. President Obama and First Pooch Bo rode Air Force One on Thursday afternoon to Martha’s Vineyard, where they were to meet First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia. This marks the first family’s second summer vacation on the New England island, where they will stay in a rental home for 11 days and return to the White House on Aug. 29.

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The Obama Family’s Summer Vacation in Maine

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President Obama And Family Return To Chicago For Memorial Day Weekend

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Special thanks to Nesa Kovacs aka Princess Hype for creating this wonderful Michelle Obama Memorial Day tribute video.
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First Lady Michelle Obama Graces Cover of USA Weekend

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America’s mom-in-chief, Michelle Obama

USAToday~For Michelle Obama, mother of two very active girls, Malia, 11, and Sasha, 8, “taking care of family” comes first, Obama tells USA WEEKEND Magazine during an exclusive interview in the Map Room at the White House.

Obama’s self-appointed title projects the image of a mother in charge — a power-mom fully in command of her own brood who has decided to help the nation’s children, too. Her “Let’s Move!” initiative to conquer obesity in America’s children is a perfect extension of Obama’s own carefully plotted household.

Baring those famous biceps in an explosive fuchsia-colored dress and metallic heels, Obama is no Donna Reed from an era past. But when it comes to her family, her take is unapologetically and forthrightly old-fashioned. Even she is surprised at “how much I draw on my own childhood and my mother’s style of mothering.” Indeed, her mother, Marian Robinson, 72, lives right above the first family on the third floor of the White House and is a key part of the Obamas’ family support system. (Just before our photo shoot, we spotted Robinson taking a morning walk on the grounds.)

Even though Obama sought advice early on from her predecessors Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and even Tipper Gore, wife of former vice president Al Gore, she notes that “the beauty of this role [is that] it’s unique to the person who’s sitting in this position, and you define it.”

The goal is “regular little kids

A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law, ex-corporate attorney and professional hospital administrator, Obama is applying her formidable smarts and pragmatism to focus intently on making sure that Sasha and Malia feel like “regular little kids.”

“You’ve got a lot of people who are willing to help and to make life easy,” Obama says. “We have to just make sure that people aren’t walking in behind them doing things they should be doing for themselves.”

“We have to set some pretty clear boundaries with the staff to ensure the kids still take ownership of their spaces,” she says. “We have to demand that.”

“First grandma” Robinson embraces the do-it-yourself message — she “has to sneak to do her own laundry.” The girls’ turn at tackling the dirty-clothes pile is coming. “Malia doesn’t know this yet,” Obama confides, “but she’s going to be doing her own laundry, too. She can’t go to college never having done her own laundry!”

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Cover photo shoot by Kwaku Alston, Stockland Martel for USA WEEKEND. Michelle Obama’s Hair: Johnny Wright; Make-up: Derrick Rutledge.

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