President Trump presided over the annual lighting of the national Christmas tree on Thursday, his first time at the ceremony as president.  

"Now, as president of the United States, it's my tremendous honor to finally wish America and the world a very merry Christmas," Trump said before counting down the lighting of the "very beautiful" tree. 

First lady Melania Trump, who joined him on a decorated stage at the Ellipse near the White House, thew the switch to turn on the tree's blue and yellow lights. 

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"For Christians this is a holy season, the celebration of the birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ," Trump said in his remarks. "There's hardly an aspect of our lives today that his life has not touched — art, music, culture, law and our respect for the sacred dignity of every person, everywhere in the world," he said. 

Calvin Coolidge was the first president to preside over the national Christmas tree lighting at its current location in 1923. 

Trump marked another White House holiday tradition earlier this month with the annual presidential turkey pardon, a Thanksgiving tradition dating back to President George H.W. Bush in 1989.  

"We pray that our country will be a place where every child knows a home filled with love, a community rich with hope, and a nation blessed with faith," the president said.