*An 18 ½ foot Douglas-fir arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington by horse-drawn carriage Friday afternoon, headed for its ultimate destination as the official White House Christmas tree. [Scroll down to watch video of the tree’s arrival.]
At a brief ceremony in front of the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Sasha and Malia, received the tree from Crystal Spring Tree Farm of Leighton in Pennsylvania. President Obama, meanwhile, was photographed looking on from an upstairs window while applying an icepack to his lip, which was injured during a basketball game earlier in the day. [See photo below.]
As previously reported, the president received 12 stitches Friday after being inadvertently elbowed in the mouth while playing basketball with friends and family at Fort McNair.
The president was playing defense when Rey Decerega, an opposing player, turned into him to take a shot and his elbow hit Obama in the lip.
“I learned today the president is both a tough competitor and a good sport,” Decerega, who works for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, said in a written statement. “I enjoyed playing basketball with him this morning. I’m sure he’ll be back out on the court again soon.”
The president was given a local anesthetic for the procedure. The White House Medical Unit used a smaller filament that requires more stitches but makes them tighter, resulting in a smaller scar, the administration said.
While leaving Fort McNair, cameras captured the president holding a gauzelike material to his lip. [See photo below.] Jonathan Smith, a sports fitness instructor at Fort McNair, told ABC News he noticed a few “trickles of blood” on the president’s lip as he and his entourage were leaving.
They had been playing for about 90 minutes when the incident occurred, Smith said.
The injury occurred in the last of the five games Obama was playing with his friends, which included his nephew, Avery Robinson, personal aide Reggie Love and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Back at the White House later Friday, as President Obama looked on, a band played “My Christmas Tree” when the first lady and her daughters walked out to receive the tree.
“So what do you think? You giving the thumbs up?” Mrs. Obama asked the girls after a close inspection. They signaled to their mom that the tree had their approval. The first lady then announced, “We’ll take it.”
The tree will be decorated and put up in the Blue Room of the White House. This is the second time the official tree was chosen from a farm owned by Christopher Botek.
Watch video of the tree arrival below.