The tradition of the National Christmas Tree began during the administration of President Calvin Coolidge in the early 1920s. That’s when the First Lady Grace Coolidge permitted District of Columbia Public Schools to display a Christmas tree on the Ellipse near the White House. It was a striking sight, standing 48-feet tall and sporting red, white, and green ornaments on its balsam fir branches. Of course, it pales with the National Christmas Tree lighting displays of recent years.
|First Lady Grace Coolidge|
The pageant extended the tree-lighting celebration into a three-week event. That tradition continues today, when visitors during the Christmas season can walk “The Pathway of Peace,” which surrounds the National Christmas Tree with smaller trees representing 56 U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia.