First Family Attends The Christmas Tree Lighting

First Family Attends The Christmas Tree Lighting


(music playing) The President:
Hello, everybody. Happy holidays
to all of you. Eva Longoria, thank you
for the wonderful hosting. Kelly Clarkson, we love. To everybody who is here
tonight and everybody watching at home, it is now
officially the time to light this tree. (applause) The President: Are you
guys ready to countdown? We’re going to start
from five, you ready? You sure? Okay let’s go. Multiple Speakers: Five,
four, three, two, one! (applause) The President: Merry
Christmas, everybody! (music playing) Mrs. Obama: Hi, everybody. Merry Christmas,
are we ready? Simone, you ready? Simone Manuel:
I’m very ready. Mrs. Obama: Thanks
for reading with me. Are you guys ready? Multiple Speakers: Yeah. Mrs. Obama:
Alright, here we go. ‘Twas the night before
Christmas, when all through the house not a creature a
creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Simone Manuel: The stockings
were hung by the chimney with care in hopes the
St. Nicholas soon would be there. Mrs. Obama: The children
were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of
sugarplums danced in their head. And mama in her kerchief,
and I in my cap had just settled down for a
long winter’s nap. Simone Manuel: When out on
the lawn there rose such a clatter. I sprang from my bed to
see what was the matter. Mrs. Obama: Away to the
window, I flew like a flash. Tore up the shudders
and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of
the new fallen snow gave a luster of midday
to objects below. Simone Manuel: When what to
my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature
sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. Mrs. Obama: With a little
old driver so lively and quick, I knew in a moment
it must be St. Nick. Simone Manuel: More rapid
than eagles, his corsers they came, and he whistled
and shouted and called them by name. Now Dasher, now Dancer,
now Prancer and Vixon. On Comet, on Cupid, on
Donder, and Blitzen. Mrs. Obama: To the top of
the porch, to the top of the wall. Now, dash away, dash
away, dash away, all. As dry leaves before the
wild hurricane fly when they meet with an obstacle
mount to the sky. Simone Manuel: So, up to the
housetop the corsers they flew. With sleigh full of toys
and St Nicholas, too. Mrs. Obama: And then in a
twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing
of eight little hoof. As I drew in my head and was
turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas
came with a bound. Simone Manuel: He was
dressed all in fur from his head to his foot, and his
clothes were tarnished with ashes and soot. Mrs. Obama: A bundle of toys
he had flung on his back, and he looked like a
peddler, just opening his pack. His eyes, how they twinkled,
his dimple how merry. His cheeks were like roses,
his nose like a cherry. Simone Manuel: His draw
little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard on
his chin was as white as the snow. Mrs. Obama: The stump of a
pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke, it
encircled his head like a wreath. Simone Manuel: He had a
broad face and a little round belly that shook when
he laughed like a bowel full of jelly. He was chubby and plump,
a ripe jolly old self. When I laughed when I saw
him in spite of myself. Mrs. Obama: A wink of his
eye and a twist of his head soon gave me to know I
had nothing to dread. Simone Manuel: He spoke not
a word, but went straight to his work and filled all the
stockings, then turned with a jerk. And laying his finger aside
of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. Mrs. Obama: He sprang to his
sleigh, to his team gave a whistle and away
they all flew. Like the down of a thistle. Simone Manuel: But I heard
him exclaim as he drove out of sight – Michelle Obama and Simone
Manuel: Merry Christmas to all, and to all
a good night. (applause) Mrs. Obama: Great job. (applause) The President: Well,
thank you Dylan for that introduction and for all
that you do for our parks down in Texas. I also want to thank
Reverend Haggins for her beautiful invocation, and as
we continue to celebrate the centennial of our national
parks, I want to recognize our tremendous Secretary of
the Interior, Sally Jewell. (applause) Our National Parks Service
Director, Jonathan Jarvis. And all the rangers and
staff from the Park Service and the National Park
Foundation, here’s to another 100 years. (applause) Let’s give it up for
Eva Longoria and the star-studded group we have
here performing tonight. Gold Medalist,
Simone Manuel. Kelly Clarkson, Yolanda
Adams, Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood, Chance the
Rapper, the Lumineers, Marc Anthony, James
and Kim Taylor. It’s like a Christmas
edition of Lollapalooza. (laughter) And this is just another
example of why the holidays here at the White
House are so special. Last week, I
pardoned a turkey. (laughter) Tonight, we’re lighting the
National Christmas Tree. This one is easier because
a tree does not move. It does not gobble. (laughter} You just push a button,
and it’s electrified. Which is exactly what you
don’t want to have happen at a turkey pardon. (laughter) I thought that was
funny, Michelle. (laughter) Thankfully, both events have
gone off without a hitch. Along with celebrations like
these, the holidays also offer us a time for
reflection and perspective. And over these next few
weeks, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, as we
retell the story of weary travelers, a star,
shepherds, magi, I hope that we also focus ourselves on
the message that this child brought to this earth
some 2000 years ago. A message that says we have
to be our brothers’ keepers, our sisters’ keepers. That we have to reach
out to each other. To forgive each other. To let the light of our
good deeds shine for all. To care for the sick and the
hungry, and the downtrodden. And, of course, to love one
another — even our enemies. And treat one another the
way we would want to be treated ourselves. It’s a message that grounds
not just my family’s Christian faith, but that
of Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans, non-believers,
Americans of all backgrounds. It’s a message of unity and
a message of decency, and a message of hope that
never goes out of style. It’s one that we all
need very much today. After eight years as your
President, I still believe — (applause) — that there’s so much more
that unites us than divides us. I’ve seen it in parents
from every corner in this country, just trying to give
their kids a better shot. I’ve seen it in communities
that come together and find common ground, even in
times of trial and times of tragedy. We see it in immigrants and
refugees striving for the most American of ideals,
to better ourselves and families. We see it in our troops who
serve far from home during this holiday season. These outstanding men and
women who go into harm’s way to protect the nation that
we love and the freedoms that we hold dear. The freedom to vote and
speak out, and practice our faiths as we choose. The freedom to chart our own
course as citizens and as a nation. That is the America that
I’ve seen as we come back from the depths of an
economic crisis to an economy on the move. As we’ve recovered from
wars and natural tragedies. What I’ve seen is a
big-hearted and hopeful, and resilient people who look
out for each other and who have each other’s backs. And who find strength in our
differences, and who keep moving forward knowing that
we’re all in this together. Those are our values, that
is who we are, that’s who we will always be, and this is
the 94th time that Americans have gathered to light
out National Tree. It’s the eighth and final
time for our family. Before we leave tonight, I
just want to express what an incredible honor it has
been to serve this nation. (applause) And to feel its warmth, and
to feel its generosity, and how our family has been
awed by America’s goodness. And, most of all, it has
been so special to share these eight years
with all of you. So, on behalf of Michelle
and Malia and Sasha, grandma, Bo, and Sunny,
Merry Christmas, everybody. Happy Holidays, may God
bless you all, and may God bless these United
States of America. (applause) The President: Hey, Santa. It’s Santa, everybody. Give Santa a big
round of applause. Can everybody please give
one more big round of applause for this amazing
collection of talent. (applause) The President: Santa, do you
think we got one more song in us? Santa Claus: I think we can
do that, Mr. President. The President: Band,
what do you think? We got it? What sounds good? Jingle Bells? What do you
think, everybody? You guys know the words? Garth, you better
lead us on this, man. Santa Claus: What key? (music playing) Multiple Speakers: Jingle
bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh, what fun it is to ride
in one-horse open sleigh, hey. Jingle bells, jingle
bells, jingle all the way. Oh, what fun it is to ride
in a one-horse open sleigh, hey. Dashing through the snow,
in a one-horse open sleigh. O’er the fields, we go
laughing heartily, ho, ho, ho. Bells on bob tail ring,
making spirits bright. Oh, what fun it is to laugh
and sing a sleighing song tonight Oh, jingle bells,
jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh, what fun it is to ride
in a one-horse open sleigh, hey. Jingle bells, jingle
bells, jingle all the way. Oh, what fun it is to ride
in a one horse open sleigh. (music playing) The President: Hey,
thank you everybody. Merry Christmas. God, bless you,
God, bless America. Thank you, guys.

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