The People's Tree has arrived in D.C.! The spiffy spruce had a long ride from its home in western Colorado.
In a 50-year Congressional tradition, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is cut each year from a different national forest and decorated on the west lawn of the Capitol. This year's tree is a 55-foot Engelmann spruce, lit by tens of thousands of LEDs and decorated with handmade ornaments from children in Colorado.
"The People's Tree" was harvested from Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests in Colorado on November 5.
The virtual cutting ceremony from November 5 at the GMUG National Forests, featuring remarks from the U.S. Forest Service
As per tradition, the tree took a leisurely route from its growing-place to the Capitol and stopped for festivities in 10 communities along the way. Ouray, Grand Junction, Paonia, Gunnison, Salida, Denver, Burlington, and North Carolina were among those stops. As in previous years, avid tree fans tuned in to the Capitol Tree Tracker to follow its progress. Naturally, this year those activities were socially-distant, but when the tree is so big, one imagines you can bask in the holiday cheer from even far away.
Good on Colorado for coming through even in a tough year. It might be speculated that 2020 had a dampening effect on tree height—last year's blue spruce from Carson National Forest in New Mexico measured in at 60 feet tall. But only the most curmudgeonly will miss those 5 feet of difference, as the tree and its lovingly-crafted ornaments, raised proudly on Capitol Hill beneath the backdrop of the stately capitol dome, is truly beautiful.
The tree was carefully lifted from a flatbed truck by crane and entrusted to the Office of the Architect of the Capitol.
The U.S. Speaker of the House, Architect of the Capitol, U.S. Forest Chief Vicki Christiansen, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and members of the Colorado Congressional Delegation will host the tree's lighting ceremony on December 2 at 5 p.m. EST.
If you want to learn more about the journey of this intrepid Engelmann Spruce, you can watch America's Forests with Chuck Leavell: Capitol Christmas Tree Special aired by Rocky Mountain PBS on December 17 at 8 p.m.
Have you ever seen a more sincere Christmas tree? What national forest could donate the best Christmas tree? Leave a comment!