President Obama lights National Christmas Tree

The president was joined by several celebrities including Neil Patrick Harris, who hosted the ceremony for the annual lighting of the tree.

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama and his family have flipped the switch for the 90th annual lighting of the National Christmas Tree.

Obama was joined at the ceremony by TV star Neil Patrick Harris, who hosted the ceremony. Performers included singers Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Ledisi, Jason Mraz, James Taylor and the band The Fray.

This year's giant blue spruce is new and was transplanted in October on the Ellipse, a park that lies between the White House and the National Mall.

The previous tree died from transplant shock after just a year. Before that, a tree that stood for more than 30 years was destroyed by winds in February 2011.

Obama Tree Lighting: President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha, second from left, and Malia react as the girls flip the switch to light the National Christmas Tree, Thursday.AP Photo: Carolyn Kaster