There’s a new chill in the air in Washington, which could mean only one thing: The Capitol Christmas tree’s arrival is around the corner.
The Architect of the Capitol today announced that this year’s tree, a 65-foot Engelmann spruce from Colorado’s White River National Forest, will arrive on the Capitol’s West Front on Nov. 26.
Once installed via a large crane, AOC employees will work quickly to string the tree with lights and the 5,000 handmade ornaments reflecting the 2012 theme: “Celebrating our Great Outdoors.”
An official tree lighting ceremony will take place in December featuring AOC Stephen Ayers and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
The Capitol Christmas Tree has been a staple of the holiday season every year since 1964, when then-Speaker John McCormack (D-Mass.) suggested a Christmas tree might be a nice addition to the Capitol grounds.
A 24-foot Douglas fir tree was purchased for $700 and planted on the West Front, but after three Christmases it died and had to be uprooted.
In 1970, a new tradition began: selecting a tree each year from one of the country’s national forests, pooled from a dozen potential trees nominated by Forest Service staff throughout the agency’s nine national regions.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.