It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas outside the White House, as the Obama family switched on the newly planted National Christmas Tree.

The sprice, planted only days before Hurricane Sandy raged across the East Coast of America, made it "through the storm in in one piece," Obama told the audience.

"We know that some of our neighbours to the north saw a more ruthless and destructive Sandy," he said, and paid tribute to the "heroism and perseverance," of ordinary Americans during the superstorm.

christmas tree

Obama and his family at the Christmas tree switch on


He made a joke about the previous trees, which died after only a year in the role.

"Our tree has been having a hard time recently. This is our third one in as many years.

"Just goes to show you that nobody's job is safe here in Washington," he told the crowds.

Obama the performed a jolly holiday rendition of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town with his family and the crowds.

Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, James Taylor and The Fray were also present at the starstudded event, which was televised as part of a ritual that goes back to 1923. This is the 90th annual turn-on.

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  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHRISTMAS

    US President Barack Obama (2nd L) alongside his daughter Malia (L), sing with actor Neil Patrick Harris (2nd R) and actor Rico Rodriguez (R) from the televison show 'Modern Family' during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012. The annual event, hosted by Harris, features US President Barack Obama and performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Barack Obama, Malia Obama

    President Barack Obama, right, and daughter Malia Obama, sing as Santa Claus arrives during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Marian Robinson

    President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama and Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson, participate in the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama

    President Barack Obama, right, first lady Michelle Obama, left, Sasha Obama, second from left, and Malia Obama, sing during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Michelle Obama, Rico Rodriguez

    First lady Michelle Obama reads "The Night Before Christmas" with actor Rico Rodriguez during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz

    Jason Mraz, left, and Colbie Caillat, sing during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama, Marian Robinson

    President Barack Obama looks at the stage as he sits with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia along with mother-in-law Marian Robinson during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama

    President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia flip the switch to light the National Christmas Tree during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama, Marian Robinson

    President Barack Obama looks to the stage as he sits with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia along with mother-in-law Marian Robinson during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Michelle Obama, Rico Rodriguez

    First lady Michelle Obama reads "The Night Before Christmas" with actor Rico Rodriguez during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Rico Rodriguez, Neil Patrick Harris

    Rico Rodriguez, left, and host Neil Patrick Harris participate in the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama speaks during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama

    President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama, participate in the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Barack Obama, Sasha Obama

    President Barack Obama, arrives with daughter Sasha Obama for the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama

    President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, not seen, and their daughters Sasha, left, and Malia react as they flip the switch to light the National Christmas Tree during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Michelle Obama, Rico Rodriguez

    First lady Michelle Obama reads "The Night Before Christmas" with actor Rico Rodriguez during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama,

    President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia, sing during the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Michelle Obama

    First lady Michelle Obama greets children during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • The Fray performs during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama speaks during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama, Neil Patrick Harris, Rico Rodriguez, Marian Robinson

    President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia, along with mother-in-law Marian Robinson, far left, and actors Neil Patrick Harris and Rico Rodriguez, right, are on stage during the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Colbie Caillat

    Colbie Caillat sings during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Marian Robinson

    President Barack Obama, second from right, first lady Michelle Obama, center, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama and Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson, left of center, and others participate in the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • James Taylor

    Singer James Taylor performs for President Barack Obama and the First Family during the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama looks to the stage during the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Barack Obama, Sasha Obama

    President Barack Obama and his youngest daughter Sasha arrive on stage for the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Neil Patrick Harris

    President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and actor Neil Patrick Harris stand on stage together during the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama, Marian Robinson

    President Barack Obama looks to the the stage as he sits with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia along with mother-in-law Marian Robinson during the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama speaks during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama

    President Barack Obama and first Lady Michelle Obama look to the stage during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Barack Obama, Malia Obama

    President Barack Obama, right, and daughter Malia Obama, sing as Santa Claus arrives during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Held On DC's Ellipse

    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: President Barack Obama (L), Marion Robinson, first lady Michelle Obama, and daughters, Sasha and Malia, help light the National Christmas Tree on December 1, 2011 at the Ellipse, south of the White House, in Washington, DC. The first family participated in the 89th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama and the First

    US President Barack Obama and the First Family leave the stage after lighting The 2011 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on The Ellipse near the White House in Washington, DC, on December 1, 2011. AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-CHRISTMAS-OBAMA

    Marian Robinson (L) and Sasha Obama (2R) watch as US President Barack Obama points a microphone toward US first lady Michelle Obama while singing Santa Clause is Coming to Town during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse of the National Mall December 6, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama and others attended the event which included entertainment before the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHRISTMAS

    US President Barack Obama (C) alongside First Lady Michelle Obama (2nd L), Marian Robinson (L), daughters Sasha (3rd L) and Malia, sing with actor Neil Patrick Harris (3rd R), actor Rico Rodriguez (2nd R) from the televison show 'Modern Family' and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips (R) during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012. The annual event, hosted by Harris, features US President Barack Obama and performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-CHRISTMAS-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama and the first family join performers while singing during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse of the National Mall December 6, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama and others attended the event which included entertainment before the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHRISTMAS

    US President Barack Obama sits alongside First Lady Michelle Obama during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012. The annual event, hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris, features performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHRISTMAS

    US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, prepare to push the button to light the National Christmas Tree during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012. The annual event, hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris, features performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-CHRISTMAS-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama and the first family join performers while singing during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse of the National Mall December 6, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama and others attended the event which included entertainment before the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-CHRISTMAS-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama speaks during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse of the National Mall December 6, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama and others attended the event which included entertainment before the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHRISTMAS

    US President Barack Obama leaves the stage after speaking during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012. The annual event, hosted by Harris, features US President Barack Obama and performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHRISTMAS

    US President Barack Obama shakes hands with actor Neil Patrick Harris (L) during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012. The annual event, hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris, features performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHRISTMAS

    US President Barack Obama speaks during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012. The annual event, hosted by Harris, features US President Barack Obama and performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHRISTMAS

    US President Barack Obama alongside First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha (2nd L) and Malia (2nd R), sing during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012. The annual event, hosted by Harris, features US President Barack Obama and performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHRISTMAS

    Santa Claus walks past US President Barack Obama (C) and his daughter Malia as they sing with actor Neil Patrick Harris (2nd R) and actor Rico Rodriguez (R) from the televison show 'Modern Family' during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012. The annual event, hosted by Harris, features US President Barack Obama and performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-CHRISTMAS-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama speaks during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse of the National Mall December 6, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama and others attended the event which included entertainment before the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-CHRISTMAS-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama speaks during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse of the National Mall December 6, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama and others attended the event which included entertainment before the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHRISTMAS

    US President Barack Obama speaks during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012. The annual event, hosted by Harris, features US President Barack Obama and performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHRISTMAS

    US President Barack Obama and his daughter Sasha (top) sit alongside actor Rico Rodriguez (bottom R) from the televison show 'Modern Family' during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012. The annual event, hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris, features performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHRISTMAS

    US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, react after pushing the button to light the National Christmas Tree during the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012. The annual event, hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris, features performances by Jason Mraz, Ledisi, James Taylor, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-CHRISTMAS-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama arrives for the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse of the National Mall December 6, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama and others attended the event which included entertainment before the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)