Is There One National Christmas Tree?:
Probably not, as our National Christmas tree representative is claimed by a double-handful of organizations and businesses. Here they are: the National Park Service displays the White House Ellipse tree, the U.S. Forest Service supplies the Capitol grounds tree, the National Christmas Tree Association furnishes the White House Blue Room tree and could we possibly exclude the tree displayed at Rockefeller Center?
All of these holiday trees are promoted as our nation's Christmas tree and a symbol of the Season. There is a bit of truth in each of these Christmas tree claims but the truth is much more complicated and maybe all deserve a piece of the title. Even after researching the issue, I still can't determine which tree is the "real" national tree. I am now convinced it probably doesn't really matter. You may have a different opinion.
National Christmas Tree - Outside the White House:
First Lady Grace Coolidge allowed the first cut Christmas tree (a balsam fir) to be displayed on the South Lawn of the White House in 1923. Fifty years later President Nixon responded to anti-cutting protests and planted a live tree for the ceremony in 1972. Since 1978, a living Colorado blue spruce has been this National Christmas Tree.
Planted on the "Ellipse", the spruce tree was tended and displayed by the National Park Service until high winds toppled the tree in February 2011. Read more: Winds Topple National Christmas Tree - The New York Times. A new tree has been planted and is ready for President's Park 2012 Christmas season.
National Christmas Tree - Inside the White House:
The official White House Christmas Tree has been selected each and every year since 1966 from trees grown by members of the National Christmas Tree Association. The holiday tree is prepared and presented for display in the White House Blue Room. The White House Chief Usher, Superintendent of Grounds and other staff select the national winning tree. The tree is then decorated by the White House Floral Department and presented on Thanksgiving weekend. Read more: National Christmas Tree Association
National Christmas Tree - Outside the Capitol:
The National Holiday Tree has been a tradition at the U.S. Capitol since 1963 when a live Douglas fir was planted on the West Front lawn. After several live tree plantings died, the United States Forest Service started providing the Capitol with cut Christmas trees from National Forests. The Capitol Architect's Office oversees the tree's display and lighting service. That service and tree lighting is in early December. Read more: Architect of the Capitol
Nation's Christmas Tree - Sanger, California:
In 1926 Congress formally designated California's "General Grant" Sequoia as the "Nation's Christmas Tree." In 1949, nearby Sanger, California was designated as the "Nation's Christmas Tree City." A third honor was awarded on March 29, 1956, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed the "Nation's Christmas Tree" as a national shrine to the war dead. During a Christmas ceremony each year, park rangers place a large wreath at the base of the tree. Read more: The General Grant Tree
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree:
While not officially a National Christmas Tree, New York City's Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is the biggest, brightest, most famous Christmas tree on our planet. It's lighting is an annual television event. The tree is nearly always a Norway spruce and grown by enthusiasts hoping for the honor of having their tree chosen to be displayed at Rockefeller Center. The event takes place just after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Read more: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree