Maria Puente, USA TODAY
The Obama family, looking as brightly toned as a string of Christmas bulbs, pushed the button Thursday night for the annual lighting of the White House National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse in Washington.
As President Obama counted down from five, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, pushed the big button to light up the soaring blue spruce tree behind them, covered in cascading white lights and topped with a yellow star. It was the 90th annual lighting of the tree.
It was a chilly night in Washington so everyone was in coats; Mrs. O had on a bright turquoise blue overcoat with a sparkly texture over white pants and scarf, while her daughters were in knit caps and coats in orange, pink and poppy. The president was in his usual black coat and black suit with a burgundy scarf.
Neil Patrick Harris, hosting the annual ritual on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House, welcomed the Obamas on stage shortly before 6 pm. After lighting the tree and shouting "Merry Christmas," the family left the stage to sit in the audience where actor Rico Rodriguez, from Modern Family, sat with them.
The White House pool report said Mrs. Obama and Rodriguez read from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
The show featured performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips.