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Sunday, December 25, 2011


WHITE HOUSE TRADITION—There are two official national Christmas trees. One tree is inside the White House and the other is outdoors in the Ellipse not far away.

Recently, President Barack Obama shows military officials the White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room following a meeting in early December. The 18-foot-plus balsam fir is decorated with holiday cards created by military children and ornaments featuring medals, badges and patches from all the military branches. Christmas trees have been decorated in the Executive mansion since its construction in 1801.

The outdoor National Christmas Tree tradition began in the winter of 1923 when the District of Columbia Public Schools in coordination with First Lady Grace Coolidge erected the 48-foot balsam fir in the Ellipse south of the White House.

Cut trees were used annually from different states until the mid-70s when a Colorado blue spruce from York, PA was planted on the Ellipse Oct, 20 1978. Fully decorated today, the living National spruce stands as a daily reminder of the holiday spirit. Each succeeding President has participated in its official lighting since 1923.

Images: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Exterior National Christmas Tree by Google Images.

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