Opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue received their beautiful Christmas trees recently. The White House was the first recipient.
Typically, the First Lady welcomes the annual Christmas tree to the White House, but this year, President Donald Trump made a surprise appearance. On Nov. 19, the couple welcomed the 19.5-foot Christmas tree while a military band played Christmas songs in the background.
The tree was delivered on a horse-drawn carriage. The president gave one of the horses a pat, which had me cringing. That could’ve gone so wrong so quickly. Remember the 2015 TIME magazine cover shoot where a bald eagle almost attacked Trump? Google it.
The mammoth tree, from the Mountain Top Fraser Fir farm in Newland, North Carolina, will be displayed in the White House’s blue room. The blue room is typically used for receptions and other diplomatic events. During the Eisenhower administration, the family used the room for the christening of the president’s granddaughter Mary Jean.
This year, the tree will be decorated with velvet ribbons naming each state and territory, similar to last year.
The National Christmas Tree Association chose the 2018 White House tree, continuing that tradition since the 1960s.
Monday on Twitter, the First Lady revealed more of the White House Christmas decorations, and of course the media had a heyday. Her beautiful red berry 29-tree forest was criticized as looking like a horror movie set. The First Lady’s office called the red “a symbol of valor and bravery.” Last year, her decorations were criticized for having too much white. The woman cannot win in the media.
But on to a lighter and happier note, the 82-foot Capitol Christmas tree arrived in Washington, exactly one week after the White House tree.
The Capitol tree traveled all the way from Oregon on a semi-truck, making the reverse trek of the famous Oregon Trail. During its 3,000 mile journey to Washington, the tree made 25 stops for the public to see the tree and sign the banner.
This year’s colossal noble fir tree was cut from the Willamette National Forest. Since 1970, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service has provided the Capitol tree. However, it is the Architect of the Capitol who picks out the tree. Once it is harvested, it takes an army of volunteers to get it from point A to point B in good shape.
It was unloaded and hoisted up by a crane on the West lawn of the Capitol. Each year, the tree is sent to Washington with ornaments made by children from the state. Those ornaments will be displayed just in time for the tree lighting on Dec. 5.
The tree will be lit by Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan that day and will be aired online. The Capitol tree will be on display and stay lit 24 hours a day for the public to walk right up to it until the new year.
Editor’s note: Seymour Klierly writes Washington Whispers for the Journal from inside the Beltway.