Rico Rodriguez is helping the first family ring in the holiday season in Washington, DC…
The 14-year-old Modern Family star participated in the annual White House Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, alongside James Taylor, Babyface, Jason Mraz and Phillip Phillips.
Neil Patrick Harris hosted the annual ritual on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House, welcoming to the stage President Barack Obama, the first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia. Shortly before 6:00 pm ET, the president led a countdown from five and pressed the button to light the large Christmas tree, complete with a yellow star on top.
Rodriguez later joined first lady Michelle Obama for a reading of the classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (aka “The Night Before Christmas“). The actor joked that he hoped to join the Obama family in Hawaii for their holiday vacation.
The president noted that the White House has had three separate trees in the last three years.
“A longstanding tree was lost in a storm, then the replacement didn’t take hold — just goes to show nobody’s job is safe in Washington,” said Obama . “I feel good about this one. It was planted just days before Hurricane Sandy, and it made it in one piece.”
An estimated 17,000 people attended the event, according to the U.S. National Park Service.