From washington tonight, they are turning to the holiday ahead now, last night the first family flipping the famous switch. Tonight what we learned about when it all started and the years when the... See More
From washington tonight, they are turning to the holiday ahead now, last night the first family flipping the famous switch. Tonight what we learned about when it all started and the years when the lighting of the national tree carried profound emotion with it. President obama his growing daughters by his side and that tradition lighting up the national christmas tree before the weekend started. Five, four, three, two, one. Whoo! Up on stage first lady michelle obama, too. Aretha franklin performed. ♪ Joy to the world ♪ ♪ the lord has come ♪ mrs. Obama and the muppets. You ready? Yes. Are you all ready? Reading the night before christmas. And mariah carey there, too. ♪ All I want for christmas is you ♪ a tradition, the first national christmas tree lit by calvin coolidge in 1923. The first president to flip the switch, black and white there, but trust us, 2500 red, white and green bulbs. This tree lit in 1940 by fdr. The washington monument right there behind it. And it was 50 years ago after the death of president kennedy, the lighting ceremony postponed until late december. President lbj saying today we come to the end of a season of great national sorrow and beginning of the season of great eternal joy. And like so many americans in 2007, the first christmas tree in led lights to make it more energy efficient. And this year, the most energy coming from those little dancers, one of them president obama tried to keep up with. Giant smile the moment he gives up. Leaving the troeft her.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.