*It’s officially Christmastime at the White House, and the last one for the Obamas.
First lady Michelle Obama stepped out onto the North Portico on Friday to receive the official White House Christmas Tree, a 19-foot Balsam-Veitch fir that arrived via horse-drawn wagon and a serenade from the Marine Band.
Usually, daughters Malia and Sasha have been on hand for the tree reception, as well as the turkey pardoning before Thanksgiving. This time, the girls had “other commitments” for both ceremonies and their little cousins, the two youngest children of the first lady’s brother, Craig Robinson, and his wife Kelly, filled in.
“These are our replacement kids,” Obama told the press.
“This is what happens when you get teenagers. One is asleep,” she said, referring to one of her daughters and pointing to the house. Looking at her nephews, she added, “These two are up.”
The boys looked excited to be at both ceremonies and helped keep a handle on the Obamas’ black-and-white Portuguese water dogs, who also usually accompany the first lady for the tree reception.
The tree was grown at a farm in Oconto, Wisconsin, and delivered on Friday by owners Dave and Mary Vander Velden, according to NBC Washington.
The tree will be trimmed just a bit so it can fit inside the White House Blue Room, where it is traditionally displayed and decorated to honor the U.S. military.
The delivery also marks the start of an intense few days of work by scores of volunteers who help decorate the White House for Christmas.
FLOTUS plans to unveil the decorations to military families on Tuesday.
Watch the tree arrival below: