Photos: National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Marian Robinson, Reese Witherspoon
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters Sasha, and Malia, and Michelle’s mother Marian Robinson, react as they light the National Christmas Tree during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. On the far left on stage is actress Reese Witherspoon. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP)
Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Marian Robinson, Reese Witherspoon
President Barack Obama with first lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters Sasha, and Malia, and Michelle’s mother Marian Robinson, after lighting the National Christmas Tree during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. On the far left is actress Reese Witherspoon. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP)
Barack Obama, Santa Claus
President Barack Obama with Santa Claus and other performers sing on stage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP)
Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Marian Robinson, Reese Witherspoon, Andra Day, Aloe Blacc
President Barack Obama, center, with from left to right, singer Andra Day, Aloe Blacc, actress Reese Witherspoon, daughters Malia and Sasha, mother-in-law Marian Robinson and first lady Michelle Obama, sing onstage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP)
Michelle Obama,
First lady Michelle Obama with Miss Piggy, left, read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas for children on stage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP)
President Barack Obama bows his head in prayer during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama bows his head in prayer during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Members of the band Fall Out Boy perform on stage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Members of the band Fall Out Boy perform on stage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews performs during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews performs during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Singers Andra Day, left, and Aloe Blacc, right, perform onstage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Singers Andra Day, left, and Aloe Blacc, right, perform onstage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Actress Bellamy Young performs on stage with the United States Coast Guard Band during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Actress Bellamy Young performs on stage with the United States Coast Guard Band during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Reese Witherspoon speaks on stage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Reese Witherspoon speaks on stage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama returns a salute from members of the military as he walks off stage with his daughter Sasha and his mother-in-law Marian Robinson during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama returns a salute from members of the military as he walks off stage with his daughter Sasha and his mother-in-law Marian Robinson during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama and Miss Piggy onstage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama and Miss Piggy onstage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
First lady Michelle Obama and Miss Piggy read "The Night Before Christmas" to children on stage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
First lady Michelle Obama and Miss Piggy read “The Night Before Christmas” to children on stage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
From right, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Michelle's mother Marian Robinson, daughters Sasha, and Malia, sit together during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
From right, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Michelle’s mother Marian Robinson, daughters Sasha, and Malia, sit together during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Sasha Obama, right, and Malia Obama, laugh during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sasha Obama, right, and Malia Obama, laugh during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama, left, with daughters Malia and Sasha, mother-in-law Marian Robinson and first lady Michelle Obama sing onstage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. Also on stage is actress Reese Witherspoon at left. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama, left, with daughters Malia and Sasha, mother-in-law Marian Robinson and first lady Michelle Obama sing onstage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. Also on stage is actress Reese Witherspoon at left. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama looks to a member of the military as he walks to his seat during the  National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama looks to a member of the military as he walks to his seat during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama, leans to talk with his daughters Malia, left, Sasha, second from left, and first lady Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama, leans to talk with his daughters Malia, left, Sasha, second from left, and first lady Michelle Obama’s mother Marian Robinson during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
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Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Marian Robinson, Reese Witherspoon
Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Marian Robinson, Reese Witherspoon
Barack Obama, Santa Claus
Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Marian Robinson, Reese Witherspoon, Andra Day, Aloe Blacc
Michelle Obama,
President Barack Obama bows his head in prayer during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Members of the band Fall Out Boy perform on stage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews performs during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Singers Andra Day, left, and Aloe Blacc, right, perform onstage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Actress Bellamy Young performs on stage with the United States Coast Guard Band during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Reese Witherspoon speaks on stage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama returns a salute from members of the military as he walks off stage with his daughter Sasha and his mother-in-law Marian Robinson during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama and Miss Piggy onstage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
First lady Michelle Obama and Miss Piggy read "The Night Before Christmas" to children on stage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
From right, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Michelle's mother Marian Robinson, daughters Sasha, and Malia, sit together during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sasha Obama, right, and Malia Obama, laugh during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama, left, with daughters Malia and Sasha, mother-in-law Marian Robinson and first lady Michelle Obama sing onstage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. Also on stage is actress Reese Witherspoon at left. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama looks to a member of the military as he walks to his seat during the  National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama, leans to talk with his daughters Malia, left, Sasha, second from left, and first lady Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Ellipse in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama jumpstarted the holiday season Thursday, lighting the National Christmas Tree but also appealing to Americans to “come together as brothers and sisters” one day after 14 people were shot to death in Southern California.

“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,” Obama said.

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

Moments earlier, the president, his wife, Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha, and his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, together flipped a switch and illuminated the Christmas tree near the White House.

The festive ceremony was held under somber circumstances following Wednesday’s events in California. As a backdrop to the ceremony, the U.S. flag flew at half-staff atop the White House, on Obama’s orders, in remembrance of the victims.

Obama closed the ceremony by taking over the microphone to help Santa Claus belt out “Jingle Bells.”

Actress Reese Witherspoon served as host. Musicians Crosby, Stills and Nash, Aloe Blacc, Kelsea Ballerini and Fall Out Boy also performed.

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© 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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