WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The Obamas and a few hundred of their friends ushered in the Christmas season Thursday with the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.
Eldest Obama daughter Malia did the honors of pressing the button to provide electricity to some 60,000 LED bulbs that bedecked the Colorado blue spruce tree sitting in the White House's back yard.
"It is one of Washington's oldest and grandest traditions, the lighting of the National Tree," said Mike Litterst, spokesperson with the National Park Service.
Actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilsom emceed the ceremony.
Along with the main tree, there are 56 state and territory trees on display. Different this year is that each of the trees will be lit with designs by young girls from across the nation. The initiative is part of the Google's Made With Code project.
"Made With Code is Google's initiative to inspire girls to try computer science, and to see it as a means to pursue their dreams. Today, we are partnering with the National Park Foundation to let girls code the trees. They can actually change the designs, the patterns, the colors, all from the comfort of their home and online at MadeWithCode.com," said Kate Parker with Google's Made With Code project.