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Watch: The 98th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting

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Washington — The National Christmas Tree, erected in front of the White House, was officially lit at a ceremony Thursday evening to commemorate the holiday season as a year that has been marked by a pandemic and bruising presidential campaign draws to a close.

The Colorado blue spruce from Palmyra, Pennsylvania, stands 30 feet tall on the Ellipse, located in President's Park between the White House and the Washington Monument. In addition to the lighting, musical performances included singer Colton Dixon, Kellie Pickler and Jillian Cardarelli, as well as "The President's Own" United States Marine Band.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump actually lit the National Christmas Tree on Monday, and their appearance will be featured in a virtual ceremony.

Surrounding the National Christmas Tree are 56 state, district and territory trees and ornaments tailored to each place, all of which can be viewed by the public.

The lighting of the National Christmas Tree dates back to 1923, when then-President Calvin Coolidge did the honors.

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