National Christmas Tree Lit

Michael Reynolds / EPA / Landov

A choir sings during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree lighting, with the White House seen behind, on the Ellipse in Washington on Thursday.

The first family had their traditional Christmas tree–lighting ceremony Thursday night in front of 17,000 people. The Obamas and Michelle’s mother, Marian Robinson, flipped the switch, and How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris hosted the event. And it sounds like President Obama’s a big fan of the Fray—he personally invited the band to perform at the ceremony. “I was here for an event and met the president, and he was like, ‘Hey man, we gotta get you up here to play a song,’” said frontman Isaac Slade. “I was like, ‘Uh ... OK! My calendar’s free!’” Other musical artists included Jason Mraz, James Taylor, and Colbie Caillat.