POLITICS

The Obamas Light Their Last Christmas Tree As The First Family

The star-studded holiday event felt like a heartwarming farewell. 🌲

The Obamas lit up the start of the holiday season for their last time as the first family of the United States, and they did it with the help of a few sparkling friends.

A parade of celebrities joined Michelle, Sasha and President Barack Obama on Thursday to ring in the season during the 94th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting at the White House’s President’s Park.

The ceremony, which has been held every year since President Calvin Coolidge began it in 1923, was hosted by actress Eva Longoria.

Some of the country’s most celebrated musical artists from nearly every genre came to celebrate with the Obamas, with performances by Kelly Clarkson, Chance the Rapper, Marc Anthony, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and The Lumineers.

Obama used the ceremony’s closing remarks to urge the country to love and accept every single person, regardless of faith or race. 

“It’s a message of unity and a message of decency and a message of hope that never goes out of style. And it’s one that we all need very much today,” Obama told the crowd. “After eight years as your president, I still believe that there is so much more that unites us than divides us.”

President Barack Obama sings "Jingle Bells" with, from left, daughter Sasha, Caroline Smedvig, James Taylor, Eva Longoria, Ke
President Barack Obama sings "Jingle Bells" with, from left, daughter Sasha, Caroline Smedvig, James Taylor, Eva Longoria, Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks and Marc Anthony.

The traditional ceremony was as wholesome as it was glamorous, with a reading of “A Visit From St. Nicholas” by the first lady and Simone Manuel, the first female African-American swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal.

This year’s tree-lighting marks the last time the Obamas will participate in the White House tradition. Next year’s presidential tree lighting will likely be hosted by the Trump family.

Below, watch the Obamas host their final national tree lighting.

  • President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha count down to throw the switch at the 94th annual Nation
    Mike Theiler / Reuters
    President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha count down to throw the switch at the 94th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.
  • Michelle, Sasha and Barack Obama.
    Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
    Michelle, Sasha and Barack Obama.
  • The tree lights up as the Obamas press the button.
    Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
    The tree lights up as the Obamas press the button.
  • Host Eva Longoria joins the Obamas in greeting the crowd gathered for the tree-lighting ceremony.
    Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
    Host Eva Longoria joins the Obamas in greeting the crowd gathered for the tree-lighting ceremony.
  • First lady Michelle Obama reads to children at the National Christmas Tree Lighting with Simone Manuel, the first female
    Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
    First lady Michelle Obama reads to children at the National Christmas Tree Lighting with Simone Manuel, the first female African-American swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal.
  • The president and first lady spread their cheer at the tree-lighting.
    Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
    The president and first lady spread their cheer at the tree-lighting.
  • Barack and Michelle Obama at their final tree-lighting at the White House.
    Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
    Barack and Michelle Obama at their final tree-lighting at the White House.
  • President Obama addresses the crowd during the National Christmas Tree Lighting.
    Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
    President Obama addresses the crowd during the National Christmas Tree Lighting.
  • President Obama sings "Jingle Bells" with Santa Claus and Chance the Rapper.
    Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
    President Obama sings "Jingle Bells" with Santa Claus and Chance the Rapper.
  • President Barack Obama is surrounded by celebrities as he sings "Jingle Bells."
    Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
    President Barack Obama is surrounded by celebrities as he sings "Jingle Bells."
  • President Barack Obama gets a word from Santa Claus.
    ZACH GIBSON via Getty Images
    President Barack Obama gets a word from Santa Claus.
  • A hug for the holidays between Santa and President Barack Obama.
    Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
    A hug for the holidays between Santa and President Barack Obama.
  • President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama take in the festivities.
    Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama take in the festivities.
  • The last White House Christmas tree for Barack Obama.
    Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
    The last White House Christmas tree for Barack Obama.
  • President Barack Obama with his wife, Michelle, and daughter Sasha.
    Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
    President Barack Obama with his wife, Michelle, and daughter Sasha.
  • President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama enjoy the celebration.
    Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama enjoy the celebration.
  • The VIPs keep warm during the National Christmas Tree Lighting.
    Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
    The VIPs keep warm during the National Christmas Tree Lighting.

Watch the entire National Tree Lighting Ceremony here.

The countdown for the #NCTL2016!

A video posted by Jim Lokay Fox 5 DC (@lokayfox5) on

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