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.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.