National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony

(Photo: Autria Godfrey/WJLA)

(AP/WJLA) - President Barack Obama and his family flipped the switch for the 90th annual lighting of the National Christmas Tree.

President Calvin Coolidge started the tradition by lighting a live, 48-foot fir decorated with 2,500 electric bulbs in 1923.

This year's giant blue spruce is new, transplanted in October on the Ellipse, south of the White House. The previous tree died after just a year from transplant shock.

Before that, a tree that stood for more than 30 years was destroyed by winds in February 2011.

And 15th Street NW from Constitution Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street NW from Constitution Avenue to New York Avenue will be closed.