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Sunday, December 24, 2017
NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE / THANKS TO FIRST LADY GRACE COOLIDGE
Nation's first National Christmas Tree during Coolidge Administration
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 National Christmas Tree transformed into a real symbol of peace in 1954, when the Washington Board of Trade and the Washington Citizen’s Committee founded the “Christmas Pageant of Peace.”
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.