Obamas, Jackie Evancho, B.B. King and Santa at Christmas Tree lighting

national-tree-lighting.jpg President Obama and the First Family lit the 2010 National Christmas Tree on Thursday Dec. 9 on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C.

The event was hosted by hip-hop artist and actor Common, who was joined by the likes of B.B. King, Maroon 5, Sara Bareilles, Miss America Caressa Cameron, Ingrid Michaelson and more.

The National Christmas tree is a Colorado blue spruce, which was planted on the Ellipse in 1978 and today, stands almost 42 feet tall. That's more than seven Justin Biebers high for those of you who measure in the Bieber system.

Contrary to popular belief, it is this ceremony that marks the start of the holiday season -- not the day after Thanksgiving (or whenever the mall decides to start putting up holiday decorations).

Common and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine pose for a photo

President Obama greets attendees of the event

The legendary B.B. King does his thing ...

bb-king-tree-lighting-gi-350.jpgAnd the Obamas are appreciative.

barack-obama-family-tree-lighting-gi-500.jpgBut maybe Sasha likes Santa better.

barack-obama-sasha-obama-santa-gi-500.jpgHere's "America's Got Talent" runner-up Jackie Evancho. We imagine she's thinking, "Booyah, Michael Grimm! Who has two thumbs and is singing for the POTUS and Santa? This girl!" Or something like that.


Michelle Obama reads a holiday story to the kids, but she can't compete with the tree. Dude, it's huge.


Photo/Video credit: National Park Service, Getty Images