Oh Christmas Tree…..

Oh Christmas Tree…..

Photo credit: Brendan Kownacki

“Over the course of the past 99 years, Presidents have continued this great American tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree through war and peace, struggle and progress” said President Biden. “The evergreen tree reminds us that even in the coldest, darkest days of winter, that life and abundance will return.”

The President of the United States and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden

Artists from across every corner of the music industry were on hand in Washington this week to help President Joe Biden celebrate the lighting of his first National Christmas Tree. The tradition dates back 99 years to the presidency of Calvin Coolidge and even unseasonably warm weather wasn’t going to get in the way of the revelry.

Many people don’t realize that the National Christmas Tree lives year-round on the Ellipse, also known as President’s Park, just across from the South Lawn of the White House. This year’s tree is a new tree, a white fir tree that was planted just a few weeks ago and earning the honor of the New National Christmas Tree. The tree is draped in thousands of colorful LED lights and topped with a star to help spread Christmas spirit to all who visit it.

L.L. Cool J

The lighting ceremony was hosted by LL Cool J, who brought energy and humor to the proceedings for all in attendance, even joking with President Biden, who would later remark on the size of the actor and musician who stars on NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS, who broadcast the event.

The musical evening started out with a song off the new Christmas album from Emmy and Tony winning actress Kristin Chenoweth. The Santa tribute was an upbeat number title “Man with a Bag,” as the petite songstress strutted around the stage in a strapless dress (as well as a fur collar and cuffs.)

Kristin Chenoweth

Continuing the celebration, the acclaimed actor and performer Billy Porter took to the stage to sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” while draped in a flowing long jacket made of gold sequence. The multiple-time Emmy winner is never one to shy away from adding flair and sparkle to an occasion and he didn’t back down here as he belted out the holiday classic beside the newly lit Christmas tree.

Billy Porter

Maren Morris sported a navy blue coat with feathery collar and sleeves when she performed “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree,” and showed off her own dance moves during a saxophone solo from a member of the Army band that was accompanying her.

Maren Morris

24-time Latin Grammy Winner Juanes kept the show moving with his own rendition of “Last Christmas” that included a showcase of Spanish-language verses and the musician’s guitar skills. Also strumming the guitar was blues artist Keb’ Mo’ who crooned a soulful version of “Please Come Home for Christmas” to the crowd.


Country superstar Chris Stapleton was joined by Grammy and Academy Award winner H.E.R. for a special duet of “This Christmas,” combining their unique styles to create a unique duet that could easily become a new holiday Classic.

Chris Stapleton and H.E.R.

Patti LaBelle

And speaking of classics, Patti LaBelle knows how to take a classic like “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and make it her own, especially when joined by the Howard University Gospel Choir. The crowd was alive with spirit, leaping to their feet as the legendary singer hit the high notes at the end of the song.

Kristin Chenoweth and Keb’ Mo’

Kristin Chenoweth and Keb’ Mo’ returned to the stage for a sultry version of “Merry Christmas Baby” that has Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff nodding along and tapping to the beat.

Secretary Haaland

Next to the stage was Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to introduce the President. Haaland, of course, is the first Native American to serve as a cabinet level official and first Native American to oversee the Department of Interior, which oversees America’s public lands.

The President took the podium and began with a joke that he is Jill Biden’s husband, continuing his folksy nature that many people love. He then complimented Secretary Haaland saying “she has made me look awfully good in my judgments.” The President, who it was later revealed was battling a head cold, smiled and reflected on the occasion.

Billy Porter

The President said that finding light in darkness and upholding hope is the “most American thing we can do,” especially as we continue to wade through the Covid pandemic. Biden expressed optimism for the year ahead and quoted scripture to reflect on his own wishes for the holiday season.

And even without an appearance from Santa (it might be a supply chain issue,) Billy Porter returned to the stage once more to close out the evening with a rocking version of “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”