The South Korean rapper PSY, whose "Gangham Style" song and video have become an international sensation, was part of the "Christmas in Washington" lineup that included Diana Ross, Demi Lovato and Megan Hilty, along with choirs and glee clubs. Conan O'Brien served as the host for the evening.
Before the concert, which benefited the Children's National Medical Center, President and Mrs. Obama and their two daughters took photos with four young children dressed in elf costumes behind stage. The children were once patients at the center.
At the end of the performance at the National Building Museum, the president spoke to the crowd about the holiday spirit and the need to reach out to help others.
"Tonight is a chance to get in the Christmas spirit; to spread some joy and sing along with artists who have much better voices than we do," Obama said. "But it's also a chance to make a real difference in the lives of some very brave young people being treated at Children's National Medical Center. Many of these kids and their parents are going through tough times right now, and your support helps give them a reason to hope -- not just during the holidays, but all year round.
"And that's really what Christmas is all about. Each of us is incredibly blessed in so many ways. But those blessings aren't just meant to be enjoyed -- they're meant to be used and shared with those who have less.
"The Christian faith teaches us that on this day a child was born so that we might have eternal life. And at the heart of many of the world's great religions is the idea that we're all better off when we treat our brothers and sisters with the same love and compassion that we want for ourselves.
"So yes, tonight is about Conan and Diana Ross and Santa and all the other talented folks on this stage. But it's also about the Americans who are spending this holiday in a hospital bed, or a shelter, or protecting our freedom on a battlefield far from home. Let's keep them in our prayers, and follow Christ's calling to love one another as he has loved all of us."
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