D.C.

National Christmas Tree lighting debuts first new tree since 1978

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A brand new National Christmas Tree now adorns President's Park, just south of the White House.

The new National Christmas Tree got its inaugural lighting on Thursday night. (Photo: Associated Press)

In February, high winds during a strong storm toppled the previous tree. It had stood in the Ellipse since 1978. This will be the new tree's first ever lighting.

The new tree is a 26-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce from New Jersey.

Performers includinng oneRepublic, Kermit the Frog and even Santa Claus turned out for the ceremony. First Lady Michelle Obama and Kermit also led a telling of the story "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

During the ceremony, President Obama said that the tree was "smaller than the old tree" but that it would grow into its job.

Nearly 17,000 free tickets, including almost 14,000 of them standing room, were issued by the National Park Service to the annual event.

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