Obama was joined at the ceremony by TV star Neil Patrick Harris, who hosted the ceremony. Performers included singers Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Ledisi, Jason Mraz, James Taylor and the band The Fray.
This year's giant blue spruce is new and was transplanted in October on the Ellipse, a park that lies between the White House and the National Mall.
The previous tree died from transplant shock after just a year. Before that, a tree that stood for more than 30 years was destroyed by winds in February 2011.