Reese Witherspoon Hosts National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony with the Obamas

Washington, D.C.

Actress Reese Witherspoon joined President Barack Obama and the first family in lighting the national Christmas tree during a ceremony near the White House on Thursday.

As host of the annual event on the White House Ellipse, Witherspoon joined Barack and Michelle Obama, the couple’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, and Michelle’s mother, Marian Robinson, according to E!.

“Happy holidays to Reese and everyone here tonight and everyone watching at home,” President Obama said before leading the crowd in a countdown to light the tree.

Against a backdrop of the White House, the the Obamas and their celebrity emcee then turned on the lights to officially kick off the holiday season in Washington.

In his remarks, the President mentioned Wednesday’s mass killing in San Bernardino, California, in which a radicalized Muslim couple allegedly killed 14 people after leaving their six month-old baby with a relative.

“This is of course the most wonderful time of the year, but we would be remiss not to take a moment to remember our fellow Americans whose hearts are heavy tonight, who grieve for loved ones, especially in San Bernardino, California,” said the president.

“Their loss is our loss, too. We’re all one American family,” he added.

E! reports that the event also featured performances by Crosby Stills & Nash, Fall Out Boy, Andra Day, Bellamy Young, Kelsea Ballerini, Tori Kelly, Trombone Shorty, the Joyous String Ensemble, and the United States Coast Guard Band.

Muppets character Miss Piggy also read the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” with Michelle Obama.

The president ended the ceremony, which has been an annual White House tradition since 1923, by singing a duet of “Jingle Bells” with a man dressed as Santa Claus.