US First Lady Michelle Obama looks on as the White House Christmas tree arrives… (Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty…)
WASHINGTON -- The official White House Christmas tree arrived Friday morning from a prize-winning farm in the North Carolina mountains.
The tree -- a 19-foot tall Fraser fir from Peak Farms in Ashe County -- arrived at the North Portico of the White House by horse-drawn carriage.
First Lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Malia and Sasha and their dog Bo, were there to receive it. Growers Rusty and Beau Estes were also at the White House for the tree's arrival.
"I think we'll take it!" the first lady joked. "We can have Christmas now."
The Estes are this year's National Christmas Tree Assn. grand champion winners. The group has provided the official White House tree every year since 1966.
The tree was selected in early October and harvested this month. Throughout the holiday season, it will be displayed in the Blue Room of the White House.
Trees from Cool Springs Nursery in Banner Elk, N.C., were chosen for the vice president's residence.
"This is the first time the White House tree and vice president's tree have come from the same state,” said North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "It speaks volumes about the quality of trees available in North Carolina."
North Carolina ranks second in the nation in Christmas tree production. More than 5 million trees are harvested there annually. Last year's White House tree came from Neshkoro, Wis.
The official Christmas tree for the Capitol is set to arrive on Monday.
The 65-foot Engelmann spruce from the White River National Forest in Colorado is making stops in 28 different communities on its journey across the country to Washington.
The Capitol tree is to be decorated with about 5,000 ornaments handcrafted by Coloradans to celebrate this year's theme, "Celebrating Our Great Outdoors."
The tree is scheduled to be lighted by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) during a ceremony on Dec 4.