National Christmas Tree Lighting 2011: LED Lights Used For Fifth Straight Year (PHOTOS)
The National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony stands as one of the United States' richest traditions. Nine decades in, the event has gained some green flavor.
Back in 1923, President Calvin Coolidge initiated the inaugural ceremony. A local choir and U.S. Marine Band quartet ushered in the lighting of a 48-foot-tall fir tree, holding thousands of red, white and green bulbs.
On Thursday afternoon, President Barack Obama will light a 19-foot-tall balsam fir, serenaded by the sounds of the Black Eyed Peas, oneRepublic and other music headliners. From the energy side, the tree will sport some efficient features to help capture the Christmas spirit.
MarketWatch notes that this is the fifth year LED lights will be featured on the National Christmas Tree. The 2011 edition will contain thousands of GE Color Effects bulbs along the main structure, with a long-life Tetra bulb for the heirloom star at the top. GE highlights some reasons for homeowners to make the switch, noting how LED bulbs last longer, use less electricity and are more break-resistant.
With the 2011 ceremony set for Thursday, Dec. 1 at 4:30 p.m. ET, here's a look back at the last decade of National Christmas Tree lightings.
The 2011 National Christmas Tree is pictured with the national monument in the background after US President and the First Family lit it during a ceremony on The Ellipse near the White House in Washington, DC, on December 1, 2011. AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
The National Christmas tree is lit by U.S. President Barack Obama on the Ellipse in Washington on December 9, 2010. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
As the White House is lit in the background, the National Christmas Tree's lights are turned on during its annual lighting ceremony at the Ellipse on December 3, 2009 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
People visit the National Christmas Tree standing on the ellipse near the White House on Christmas Day on December 25, 2008 in Washington, DC. Washingtonians enjoyed sunny, mild weather for the holiday. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
The National Christmas Tree and the White House are seen on December 6, 2007 in Washington, D.C. The 60-foot Colorado spruce is lit with energy saving LED lights, a change from traditional incandescent bulbs which will cut power consumption by about 60 percent. (TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
The National Christmas Tree stands near the Washington Monument on the Ellipse on December 18, 2006 in Washington, D.C. The 41-foot-tall National Christmas Tree is a living Colorado Blue Spruce and was planted on the Ellipse in 1978. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The National Christmas Tree is illuminated next to the White House on the Ellipse on December 1, 2005 during the Pageant of Peace in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
The 81st National Christmas Tree is lit on the Ellipse in front of the White House on December 2, 2004, during the Christmas Pageant of Peace in Washington, D.C. President George W. Bush turned on the switch for the lights on the 40 foot Colorado blue spruce tree during the annual event. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 4: The National Christmas Tree stands lit on the Ellipse in front of the White House December 4, 2003 in Washington, DC. U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush were accompanied by two members of the Washington Boys and Girls Club to light up the tree during the annual Pageant of Peace event. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 5: The National Christmas Tree is shown on the Ellipse which is located south of the White House December 5, 2002 in Washington, DC. U.S. President George W. Bush officially opened the 79th annual Christmas Pageant of Peace which included the traditional lighting ceremony of the Christmas Tree. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The National Christmas Tree lights up the Ellipse on December 6, 2001 after a lighting ceremony and show, attended by U.S. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, in Washington, D.C. (SHAWN THEW/AFP/Getty Images)