First Lady Michelle Obama has kicked off the holiday season by welcoming the White House Christmas Tree to her home – a 19-foot Fraser fir from Peak Farms in Jefferson, North Carolina.
Michelle Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, and the first dog Bo were also in attendance for the presentation of the giant tree, which arrived on a horse-drawn carriage on Friday morning.
As the carriage, driven by two men in dapper top hats and red bow ties, pulled up outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the Marine Band played Oh Christmas Tree.
With Malia and Sasha smiling and petting Bo, Michelle Obama gave the “thumbs up” after inspecting the tree, which she called “perfect”.
“I think we’ll take it!” Michelle Obama laughed.
“We can have Christmas now.”
Yet the inspection was merely a formality as the tree was selected by White House staffers in early October and harvested this month.
The tree will be placed on display in the Blue Room, where it will become the centerpiece of the White House Christmas decorations.
It came from Rusty and Beau Estes, this year’s grand champion winners of the National Christmas Tree Association, which has provided the White House tree each year since 1966.
Trees from Cool Springs Nursery in Banner Elk, North Carolina were chosen for the vice president’s home.
“This is the first time the White House tree and vice president’s tree have come from the same state,” said North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
“It speaks volumes about the quality of trees available in North Carolina.”
North Carolina ranks second in the nation in Christmas tree production, after Oregon, and more than 5 million trees are harvested there each year.
Last year’s White House tree, an 18-and-a-half-ft balsam fir, came from Neshkoro, Wisconsin.
The official Christmas tree for the Capitol will arrive on Monday and will be lit by House Speaker John A. Boehner on December 4.
The 65-foot Engelmann spruce is stopping in 28 different communities on its journey across the country from the White River National Forest in Colorado to Washington.
It will be decorated with around 5,000 ornaments handcrafted by Coloradans to celebrate this year’s theme, Celebrating Our Great Outdoors.