A horse-drawn wagon pulled up to the White House on Monday with a 5,6m Christmas tree that will adorn the Blue Room, marking the official start of the holiday decorating season.

First Lady Laura Bush walked outside to receive the Fraser fir that was pulled up the driveway to the North Portico by two horses, including one that didn't seem happy in his work.

"Our horses aren't working as a team this morning," Bush said as she eyed the restless horse and scanned the tree, which was bound and protruding from the back of a green-and-red wagon.

The tree was donated by Buddy and Betsy Deal of Smokey Holler tree farm in Laurel Springs, North Carolina.

Gary Walters, chief usher at the White House, and Mike Lawn, grounds foreman, selected the tree at the Deals' farm on October 20.

The tree for the Blue Room as well as trees for the Bush family's private residence and the Oval Office were cut on November 25 and transported to Washington.

This year, the holiday decorating theme at the White House is All Things Bright and Beautiful. The Blue Room is the centrepiece of the White House decorations. The tree must be 5,6m tall because a chandelier is removed so the tree can be attached to the ceiling.

"The decorators are in there right now," Bush said. "Santa's elves are in, decorating the White House."

The National Christmas Tree Association has presented the official White House tree since 1966.

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