The Obamas light the White House Christmas tree

It was a family affair for the Obamas as they celebrated the festive season

The Obama family have switched on the National Christmas Tree, which sits on the Ellipse, behind the White House in Washington DC.

President Barack Obama was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, at the annual ritual which included performances from Jason Mraz, Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, James Taylor and The Fray.

As Barack counted down from five, Michelle and the girls pushed the big button to light up the huge tree which was covered in dazzling lights.

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Of course, Michelle Obama looked her usual immaculate self on the cold evening in Washington, wearing a bright turquoise coat to keep out the chill.

Barack Obama made a brief speech at the event, which has been taking place since 1923, and made specific mention of the families whose lives have been touched by Hurricane Sandy.

He told the 17,000-strong crowd: ‘Now, we know that some of our neighbors to the north saw a more ruthless and destructive Sandy, and this holiday season is especially difficult for families who lost everything in the storm.

But it’s also a time for us to be grateful for the heroism and perseverance of ordinary men and women in the storm’s path who’ve showed us that Americans will always be stronger than the challenges that we face. And as I did before Thanksgiving, I can’t help but tell a story of their enduring holiday spirit.’

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