ABC12's VIP pass to the lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree i - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

ABC12's VIP pass to the lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree in DC

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(12/04/12) - In the midst of a partisan debate over how to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, lawmakers in Washington came together Tuesday night to light the Capitol Christmas Tree – officially ushering in the holiday season.

"Christmas is a season where people ought to share, try to get along and moderate, and find some love in their hearts for other people. And I hope some of that will rub off in Congress as they deal with this terrible so-called cliff," said Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a former U.S. senator for Colorado.

Campbell drove this year's Capitol Christmas Tree from White River National Forest in Meeker, Colorado all the way the Washington over the course of three weeks. 

"There's nothing like seeing it tonight. It's just spectacular, particularly with that beautiful white dome behind it," Campbell said.

"It was incredible and a great honor," said high school senior Ryan Schuster, who was chosen by a raffle to flip the switch alongside House Speaker John Boehner.

Boehner set the tone of the evening – shying away from politics and emphasizing the true meaning of the season.

"With this gratitude I offer you this simple phrase – God bless us, everyone. And from my family to yours, Merry Christmas," Boehner said.

For those who gathered on the West Lawn Tuesday, the tree lighting was a break from the serious issues facing our nation - if only for a moment.

The lighting of the Capitol Tree is just the beginning for holiday festivities in our nation's capital. On Thursday night, President Obama will light the National Tree outside the White House.

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