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Saturday, November 26, 2016

"Christmas begins!" when the White House Christmas Tree arrives

You know it's the Christmas holiday season in Washington when the official White House Christmas tree makes its arrival.

On Friday First Lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by her two young nephews Austin and Aaron Robinson, graciously accepted the last Christmas tree of her tenure. The tree made its way up to the North Portico of the White House by a horse-drawn carriage flanked with a sign on the both sides that read, White House Christmas Tree 2016, while a military quartet played, O', Christmas Tree.

It isn't an elaborate ceremony by any stretch of the imagination, lasting just under ten minutes, but still delights reporters and guests who get an up close view of the first family and first dogs Bo and Sunny.

FLOTUS walks toward White House after accepting this year's Christmas tree
with her young nephews Aaron and Austin Robinson. Photo/CD Brown.
Past Christmas tree receptions have always featured Obama daughters Sasha and Malia. The girls opted out of this year's reception (and turkey pardoning), leaving a younger Obama generation to experience both White House traditions.

Mrs. Obama referred to her two young nephews as this year's "replacement kids."  The 'replacement kids' took in all the delight of the occasion posing for pictures in front of the tree and along side the horse-drawn carriage before the ceremony; photographs that will likely serve as family mementos as the Obamas wind down their final year in the White House.

"This is what happens when you get teenagers", Mrs. Obama said.

"One is asleep, these two are up", referring to the two handsome, young boys who obviously know a thing or two about Christmas trees.

"It's great", Austin said.

"Should we accept it?" asked the first lady to an approving reply of, "Yes."

It was a unanimous thumbs up to the beautiful 19-foot Balsam fir that will soon be decorated by military Gold Star and Blue Star family volunteers.

"Alright, our work here is done", the first lady said.

In about a week a decorated fir tree will adorn the Blue Room of the White House along with many other delightfully ornate and brightly colored Christmas decorations that are part of a White House Christmas tradition.

A final Obama family White House Christmas tree arrives. Photo/CD Brown.
This tree has history

This year's tree was donated by a tree farm in Pennsylvania and presented to First Lady Obama by Dave and Mary Vander Velden of Oconto, Wisconsin, who are the 2016 winners of the National Christmas Tree Association national tree contest.

Members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented the official White House Christmas Tree for display in the Blue Room since 1966.

According to the association's web site The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) is the national trade association representing the Christmas tree industry representing more than 700 active member farms, 29 state and regional associations, and more than 4,000 affiliated businesses that grow and sell Christmas trees or provide related supplies and services.

Read more about White House Christmas trees here.

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