Barbara Bush celebrated her 10th anniversary as the official National Christmas Tree decorator Friday as she placed the main ornament, a white star, atop the 35-foot tree near the White House.
Mrs. Bush held tight to her grandchildren, Sam and Ellie LeBlond, as they rode the hydraulic lift to the top of the tree. The bumpy ride drew squeals of fear and delight from the children’s classmates crowded below.
“Who’s that?” the children wanted to know, pointing to the man who joined the First Family in the lift.
“That’s Santa Claus,” quipped Mrs. Bush. “Nah! That’s Mr. Riley,” she amended, referring to Joseph Riley, the president of the Christmas Pageant of Peace that organizes the National Christmas Tree celebration.
Mrs. Bush has crowned the Colorado Blue Spruce that has been growing in the Ellipse every year since 1981, her first year as the vice president’s wife. The tree will be lit by the President and First Lady on Dec. 13.