New National Christmas Tree in DC to be lit

December 1, 2011 - 1:40 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new National Christmas Tree will soon be illuminated for the first time.

President Barack Obama and his family will light the tree in a ceremony starting at 5 p.m. Thursday. This will be the 89th year for the holiday tree lighting. The tradition began with President Calvin Coolidge in 1923.

The new National Christmas Tree was planted on the Ellipse south of the White House in March. It's a 26-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce from a New Jersey tree nursery. The previous tree stood on the Ellipse since 1978. It was toppled in February by strong winds.

Carson Daly will host the lighting ceremony, which will include performances from Big Time Rush and Ellie Goulding and appearances by Kermit the Frog and Santa Claus.