The Obamas Light the National Christmas Tree

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Charles Dharapak / AP

The National Christmas Tree in Washington, Dec. 6, 2013.

President Barack Obama and his family welcomed the holiday cheer Friday by lighting up the National Christmas Tree on Friday, accompanied by Aretha Franklin singing “Joy to the World.”

First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson were all present for the 91st annual tree-lighting ceremony just outside the White House gates.

“This year we give a special measure of gratitude to Nelson Mandela,” Obama told the gathered crowd.