Published: Dec 06, 2013 5:37 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has thrown the switch, bathing the National Christmas Tree in lights and giving an otherwise dreary day in the nation's capital a festive and seasonal spirit.
    
Obama, acknowledging the rainy weather, asked for an abbreviated countdown before flipping on the lights. He said, quote: "We're going to start at 5; since it's little wet we shouldn't start at 10."
    
As soon as the tree burst into multi-colors, singing diva Aretha Franklin took to the stage to sing a spirited version of "Joy to the World."
    
Joining Obama for the 91st annual tree-lighting ceremony were first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson.

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