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Lynne Cheney and her three granddaughters rode 40 feet into the sky Tuesday to top the National Christmas Tree, kicking off the White House holiday season.

As "Jingle Bells" and "Joy to the World" played below, the vice president's wife and the three young girls waved to a crowd of about 200 from a cherry-picker. Peter Nostrand, president of the Christmas Pageant of Peace, did the actual topping himself, placing the double-layered white and clear plastic star onto the tree.

The Colorado Blue Spruce, which is about 40 feet tall, sits permanently in the Ellipse that surrounds the White House. It will be illuminated by President Bush in a ceremony on Dec. 2.

The tradition marks the start of the Christmas Pageant of Peace, which celebrates the season until Jan. 1.

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