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“Being in President’s Park right after the election, this is just an exciting time,” she said.

The 2012 tree is a 30-foot Colorado blue spruce from northwest Virginia. It replaced its predecessor, which died earlier this year from what National Park Service officials called “transplant shock.”

The park service has had a recent spate of bad luck with its National Christmas Trees. Along with the tree that died of shock, the blue spruce before it was snapped in half by a strong windstorm in February 2011. That tree had stood on the Ellipse for more than 30 years.

The president was well aware of the park service’s bad luck with the past few trees.

“Our trees are having a hard time,” Mr. Obama said to the crowd. “It just goes to show nobody’s job is safe here in Washington.”

Those who didn’t win lottery tickets for the event have the rest of the month to come to see the tree lit up, as well as the other holiday exhibits with it.

Visitors can wander the Pathway of Peace, which is lined by 56 smaller trees that represent the U.S. states and territories. All of the trees, including the National Christmas Tree, are scheduled to be lit each night between now and Jan. 1 from about dusk until late evening, Park Service officials said.

Visitors can also stop in Santa’s Workshop until Christmas Eve to meet elves and the man in red before his busy night.

The Park Service also has scheduled a range of performances throughout the month for the stage near the National Christmas Tree. These include the Washington Redskins Marching Band and, from Virginia, the Boyle School of Irish Dance from Manassas, the Cool Spring Elementary Chorus of Leesburg, and the Bach-Herzog Young Piano Performers from Springfield.