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Posted at 03:27 PM ET, 12/01/2011

National Christmas tree lights up a new star

UPDATE: The tree lighting ceremony is over — check out photos and video of the event below.

There will be plenty of notable names at tonight’s lighting of the National Christmas tree: The Obamas, of course, along with Kermit the Frog, the Black Eyed Peas, OneRepublic, Ellie Goulding, Rodney Atkins, Big Time Rush and others. But the real star of the festivities has to be the brand new tree getting its first turn as the ultimate holiday decoration.

Back in February, the long-time National Christmas tree — a 46-year-old, 42-foot Colorado blue spruce from Pennsylvania that had been towering over the Ellipse since 1978 — fell victim to high winds.

In March, a replacement was planted: another Colorado blue spruce, this time from New Jersey. The young tree, just 26 feet tall, will light up tonight at 5 p.m. ET.

The tree lighting has been an annual tradition in Washington since 1923, when Calvin Coolidge decorated a balsam fir on Christmas Eve.

Don’t have tickets for tonight’s event? We’ve got you covered. Watch the show live and follow The Post’s Robert Samuels, @newsbysamuels, who’ll be tweeting live from the event. Follow him on Twitter, or follow the stream after the jump.

Below, follow Post reporter Robert Samuels, who will be at the ceremony on the Ellipse tonight.


2011 Holiday Guide

Photos: White House holiday decorations

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By Amanda McGrath  |  03:27 PM ET, 12/01/2011

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