National Christmas Tree (United States)

National Christmas Tree (United States)
White House and the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C., in 2010.

The National Christmas Tree is a large evergreen tree located in the northeast quadrant of the The Ellipse near the White House in Washington, D.C. Each year since 1923, the tree has been decorated as a Christmas tree. The grand illumination of the Christmas lights on the tree by the President of the United States early in December is an annual event. Every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has made formal remarks during the tree lighting ceremony.[1] Since 1954,[2] the event has marked the start of month-long festivities known as the Pageant of Peace.[3] Smaller trees representing the U.S. states, District of Columbia, and unincorporated territories of the United States around the National Christmas Tree are referred to as the Pathway to Peace.[4]


Beginnings of the National Christmas Tree tradition

"The first National Christmas Tree," lit on December 24, 1923, in the middle of the Ellipse outside the White House.

1923 tree

The idea of a decorated, outdoor national Christmas tree originated with Frederick Morris Feiker. Feiker was a highly educated engineer who had been a technical journalist for General Electric from 1906 to 1907 and editor of Electrical World and Electrical Merchandising from 1915 to 1921.[5][6] In 1921, Feiker joined the personal staff of United States Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover as a press aide.[5][7] The Society for Electrical Development (an electrical industry trade group) was looking for a way to encourage people to purchase more electric Christmas lights and use electricity,[8] and Feiker suggested that President Calvin Coolidge personally light the tree as a way of giving Christmas lights prominence and social cachet.[9] One of Vermont's Republican Senator Frank L. Greene accompanied Feiker to the White House, where they successfully convinced Coolidge to light the tree.[9]

Feiker arranged for Paul Moody, president of Middlebury College in Vermont to donate a 48-foot (15 m) tall balsam fir as the first National Christmas Tree.[9][10][11] Middlebury College alumni paid to have it shipped via express to Washington.[9] The branches on the lower 10 feet (3.0 m) of the tree were damaged in transit, so cut branches from a local evergreen were tied to the tree to restore its appearance.[12]

Feiker put together a group of local civic organizations to erect the tree in the center of the Ellipse[13][14] and decorate it, and the U.S. electrical industry donated $5,000 worth of electrical cables (which were buried under the Ellipse and provided the tree with electricity).[9] The site for the tree was personally approved by Grace Coolidge.[15] Arrangements were also made to have 3,000 city school children present to sing Christmas carols and the United States Marine Band to play music.[16] The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) agreed to broadcast the event on radio.[9] The tree was decorated with more than 2,500 electric bulbs in red, white, and green donated by the Electric League of Washington.[10]

At 3:00 P.M., a 100-voice choir from the First Congregational Church assembled on the South Portico of the White House and began a two-hour concert of Christmas carols.[17] At 5:00 P.M. (dusk) on Christmas Eve,[17] President Coolidge touched a button at the foot of the tree which lit the ornaments,[17][18] but he did not speak.[9] A searchlight from the nearby Washington Monument was trained on the tree to help illuminate it as well.[18] The Coolidge family invited citizens of the city to sing Christmas carols on the Ellipse after dark. Between 5,000 and 6,000 people thronged the park, joined by 3,000 more people by 9:00 P.M.[17][18] The crowds were joined by the Epiphany Church and First Congregational Church choirs, which sang carols, and the Marine Band played Christmas-themed music.[17][18] The singing ended shortly before midnight. After the white residents of the city had dispersed, African American residents of the city were permitted on the park grounds to see the National Christmas Tree.[17] An outdoor Christian worship service was held, and a mass choir composed of signing groups from area community centers sang more Christmas carols.[18] A illuminated Christian cross was flashed on the Washington Monument, and men dressed as shepherds walked from the National Christmas Tree to the monument.[18]

1924 tree

The 1924 ceremony changed significantly. In April 1924, Coolidge gave a speech to the American Forestry Association in which he criticized cutting down trees for use as Christmas decorations.[19] Feiker believed this was the end of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, but his wife suggested that a live tree be used instead.[20] Feiker, accompanied by T.H. Ormesby of the Society for Electrical Development and Republican Representative Hamilton Fish II extended the invitation to light the tree to Coolidge on December 6, which he again accepted.[21]

Will H. Hays, chairman of the Republican National Committee, was also chairman of Amawalk Nursery, and Hays arranged for a live, 30-year-old,[22] 35-foot (11 m) Norway spruce to be delivered to the capital.[20][10][23] The tree arrived in the city on December 13 and was planted on December 18[22] on the west side of Sherman Plaza (the patio, garden, and public square just south of the Treasury Building and its adjacent Alexander Hamilton Place).[14][24] The tree was planted by the American Forestry Assocation,[25] and decorated with 1,000 red, white, and green lights and white electric candles again provided by the Electric League of Washington.[20][26] The organization donated the strings of lights to the federal government.[27] Power was provided by the Potomac Electric Power Company via an open manhole on the plaza.[28] The tree was now called the National Community Christmas Tree,[29] and the Community Center Department of the District of Columbia Public Schools coordinated the choirs for the event while the United States Army Band provided music.[22]

Coolidge threw a switch at 8:00 P.M. to light the tree.[27][30] It was the only year a switch was used; before and since, a button has been pushed.[28] Although he did not address the people, he and Mrs. Grace Coolidge stayed to sing Christmas carols with the large crowd of several thousand.[25] Dr. Jason Noble Pierce, pastor of the First Congregational Church, wrote a new Christmas carol, "Christmas Bells," which was dedicated to Mrs. Coolidge (the Coolidge's son, Calvin Coolidge, Jr., had died on July 7 from blood poisoning).[31] The 70-voice First Congregational Church choir sang the carol for the Coolidges, accompanied by buglers and flute provided by the U.S. Army Band.[31]

1927 to 1933 trees

Over the next seven years, the annual National Community Christmas Tree lighting ceremony did not change in major ways. The lighting ceremony was pushed back to 6:00 P.M. in 1925[32] to better accommodate children's bedtimes.[28] In 1926, a flare was fired into the air as the tree was illuminated, a tradition which occurred for several years.[28] In 1927, a bronze marker was placed at the base of the tree, declaring it the National Community Christmas Tree.[28] The tree was decorated with improved lighting strings (which only required 500 multi-colored bulbs) as well as with 2,000 light-scattering jewels.[33] Colored floodlights at the base of the tree also helped provide color.[28] President Coolidge briefly addressed the crowd, beginning a tradition of a brief presidential speech during the ceremony.[34] NBC broadcast a selection of Christmas carols from speakers placed around the tree from 9:00 P.M. until midnight.[35] In 1928, the time of the lighting ceremony was again moved to 8:00 P.M.[36] That year, the Christmas lights were replaced completely by colored floodlights.[37]

An inspection of the National Community Christmas Tree in 1929 found that the tree had been severely damaged by the decoration process and the heat and weight of the lights.[38] Amawalk nurseries again donated a living tree, this one a 35-foot (11 m) tall Norway spruce.[39] It was planted on May 29, 1929.[40] The year 1929 was special in other ways, too. It was the first time that Christmas tree decorations (not just lights) were placed on the tree.[41] To prevent the tree from being damaged during decoration, scaffolding was erected around the tree (instead of ladders placed into the branches), lighter strings of lights were used, lights with a lower wattage were employed, and a low fence erected around the tree so that its roots would not be trampled.[28] Although much of the Christmas choral and music program remained unchanged (the ceremony reverted to its 6:00 P.M. time again),[42] the 1929 event was notable for another reason as well. That evening, as President Herbert Hoover and Mrs. Lou Henry Hoover entertained children from the local community, a fire broke out in the West Wing of the White House. While Mrs. Hoover quietly moved the children into the East Wing and safety, the President and other men rushed into the West Wing where they retrieved furniture, files, historic items, important papers, Hoover's personal effects, and even a puppy (being given as a gift to one of the children).[43] The West Wing (including the Oval Office) was gutted and had to be rebuilt.[44]

The National Community Christmas Tree was again found to be so severely damaged in 1931 that it was replaced a second time. The National Park Service history of the tree concludes that although there is no documentation that the tree was removed, photographic evidence clearly shows the 35-foot (11 m) tall Norway spruce had been replaced by a 25-foot (7.6 m) tall blue spruce.[28] The National Park Service believes this tree was obtained from the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capitol (an independent federal agency) in the spring of 1931.[28] During the 1931 ceremony, a buzzer went off when Hoover lit the tree at 5:00 P.M.[45] Because the button he pressed was not actually connected to the electricity, the buzzer alerted another official to actually light the tree.[28] The button the president pushed would not be reconnected to actual electricity again until 1980.[28]

Changes also occurred in 1932. President Hoover and his family were vacationing away from the White House that year, so Vice President Charles Curtis lit the tree at 5:00 P.M. on December 24.[46] Loudspeakers connected to a phonograph were concealed in the branches of the tree, and Christmas carols were played every night from 6:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. until New Year's Day.[28] The Singing Tree was a hit with the public,[47] and although music and choirs continued to perform each year, the tradition of the Singing Tree lasted for several more decades.[28]

In 1933, the National Community Christmas Tree stood alone on Sherman Square. All plants but the National Christmas Tree had been removed from the area in the fall and the ground regraded as part of a widening of E Street NW.[48] During early 1934, the tree was cut down and replaced with double row of willow oaks.[49]

National Christmas Tree during the Great Depression and World War II

In 1934, the National Christmas Tree was relocated to Lafayette Park north of the White House. The 1931 Norway spruce had again become damaged, and the National Park Service purchased two "Koster" blue spruce cultivars to plant on the west side of Sherman Square with the intent of using alternating between trees each year.[50] But when it became clear later that year that the National Christmas Tree would have to be moved from Sherman Square, the agency asked the Commission of Fine Arts (which had partial jurisdiction over planting decisions around the White House) for permission to the plant the two trees to the southeast and southwest of the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square. The Commission of Fine Arts opposed the plan, and suggested that two fir trees be planted east and west of the statue instead.[50] For a time, the National Park Service hoped to plant two trees (of an undetermined species) on the Ellipse near the White House, but in the end acceeded to the Commission of Fine Art's plan.[50] Two 23-foot (7.0 m) high Fraser firs from North Carolina were planted to the 18 to 23 feet (5.5 to 7.0 m) east and west of the Jackson statue.[50][51] The trees were planted just a few weeks before the the tree lighting ceremony, and the western tree was chosen to begin the alternating use of the trees because it was more visible from the first family's living quarters.[52] During the tree lighting ceremony, President Roosevelt drew attention to the statue of Andrew Jackson and asked the American people to be as courageous in the face of the depression as Jackson had been throughout his lifetime.[53] The tree did not light when Roosevelt threw the switch. The tree remained unlight for about five seconds while Roosevelt worriedly looked about, but then the lights came on.[52]

In 1935, the 24-foot (7.3 m) high eastern tree was used.[54] During tree lighting ceremony, President Roosevelt extemporaneously poked fun at the previous year's lighting glitch before exhorting all Americans to come together in courage and unity as did the famous American war heroes who are honored with statues in the park: Comte de Rochambeau, the Marquis de Lafayette, General Tadeusz Kościuszko, Major General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, and Andrew Jackson.[54]

New star-shaped Christmas tree lights were used in 1935, but some were stolen the week after Christmas.[50] To discourage future thefts, a temporary low octagonal fence was constructed around the 1936 tree.[50] The method of lighting the tree also changed. The National Park Service history of the tree claims that in 1936 or 1937, the button used since since 1925 was replaced by a switchbox.[50] The Washington Post, however, indicates that the button was still used in 1936.[55] The box was definitely in use by 1937. It was constructed and donated by the furnished by the Electric Institute of Washington, and was engraved with the name of every person who had lit the tree since 1923.[50] In 1938, the Electric Institute of Washington donated mercury-vapor floodlights to the federal government, which were used to help to illuminate the tree.[50]

The 1940 National Community Christmas Tree, lit by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, glows in front of the Washington Monument.

In 1939, the National Community Christmas Tree was moved back to the Ellipse. Reasons for moving the event varied. The National Park Police said it was because the Ellipse was more spacious.[56] A 36-foot (11 m) high red cedar was dug up from along the Mount Vernon Memorial Parkway in Virginia,[57] and planted just a few days before Christmas at a site just south of the center of the Ellipse.[58] (The tree was replanted back at its old site after January 1, 1940.)[57] The tree was the second-highest national Christmas tree in the history of the event, and it required 700 hand-colored light bulbs, 100 hand-crafted glass stars and several mercury-vapor floodlights to decorate and illuminate.[59] More than 8,000 people attended the 1939 ceremony.[60] The tradition of the "Singing Tree" was discontinued this year, however.[56]

The tradition of using a briefly-transplanted tree occurred again in 1940. The 1940 tree was a 34-foot (10 m) high red cedar.[61] More than 700 hand-colored lights, 700 ornaments, and six blue-green mercury-vapor lights were used to light and decorate the tree.[61] Once more, the tree was taken from along the Mount Vernon Memorial Parkway and replanted after January 1.[50]

In 1941, however, the National Christmas Tree was relocated to just inside the south fence on the South Lawn of the White House.[58] President Roosevelt personally made the request (after having discussed the issue with Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt on December 24, 1940)[62] so that the ceremony could be a more "homey" experience.[15] Two live, 35-foot (11 m) high Oriental spruce trees[63] were taken from the White House grounds itself and planted 100 feet (30 m) north of the south fence of the White House (each about 25 feet (7.6 m) off the north-south axis with the Jefferson Memorial).[64] As with the trees in Lafayette Park, they were to be used in alternate years.[58] After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, there was concern that the tree would not be lit due to security concerns.[65] But the ceremony and musical program went ahead as planned, with the east tree serving as the year's National Community Christmas Tree.[64] On December 22, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill secretly arrived in the United States about the HMS Duke of York and flew the remaining 150 miles (240 km) to Washington, where he stayed with President Roosevelt in the White House for the Arcadia Conference.[66] At 4:00 P.M. on December 24, the southeast and southwest gates of the South Lawn were opened, and between 20,000 and 40,000 people entered the grounds (searched and watched over by U.S. Army soldiers, D.C. Metropolitan Police, and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation).[67][68] Another 2,000 to 3,000 people waited outside the fence.[69] On the portico of the White House with Roosevelt and Churchill stood Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha of Norway and their three children; Roosevelt confidante Harry Hopkins; Attorney General Francis Biddle; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Stanley Forman Reed; and Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson.[68] (Norway had been occupied by Nazi Germany on April 9, 1940.) Although warned that it was a security risk, Roosevelt and Churchill remained on the portico for the entire hour-long program.[67] The crowd was kept at least 330 feet (100 m) from the White House porch.[68]

For the first time in its history, the National Community Christmas Tree was not lit in 1942 due to the need to conserve power and observe security restrictions on outdoor lighting.[70] For security reasons, it was not lit again until after the war concluded in 1945.[71] Nonetheless, President Roosevelt continued to give a national radio address on what would have been the date of the tree lighting ceremony during these three years.[71] Ornaments for the 1942 tree were donated by local D.C. schoolchildren,[72] and limited to the colors red, white, and blue.[73] With the president and his family spending Christmas of 1943 at the family home of Springwood in Hyde Park, New York, and with concern that the tree ceremony might worsen the transportation overcrowding situation in the city, the decision was made to cancel the National Community Christmas Tree decoration altogether.[74] But Eleanor Roosevelt requested that the ceremony proceed, and it did.[75] Once more, local children contributed the tree's ornaments (which were again permitted to be multi-colored).[76] Each ornament had a small white tag attached to it, commemorating an American soldier, sailor, or flier who had been wounded, killed, or gone missing in combat.[73] Roosevelt was in Hyde Park again in 1944 (although Eleanor Roosevelt remained at the White House for the annual tree ceremony), and once more local schoolchildren contributed the ornaments.[77]

Later National Christmas Trees

The lighting ceremony was first televised in 1946, although the broadcast was limited and reached few homes.[64] The two Oriental spruce trees were again found to be damaged by the decorations. Federal officials raised the suggestion that the trees be replaced with artificial trees, but this was actively opposed by the live Christmas tree industry and the idea was dropped.[64] Television coverage expanded for the 1947 ceremony, with both NBC and the DuMont Television Network televising the event.[64][78] Television coverage continued to expand in the following years. In 1948, the tree included many more white bulbs in addition to the traditional red and green ones, so that the tree would look better on TV.[79] It was also topped by a star-shaped tree topper consisting of eight flashing bulbs.[79] That year, for the first time since 1938, the "Singing Tree" returned.[64][79]

From 1948 to 1951, President Truman spent Christmas at his home in Independence, Missouri, and lit the National Community Christmas Tree by remote control.[80] Declining public attendance after four years of the president's absence led organizers in January 1952 to plead for Truman's presence at the next ceremony.[64] Truman agreed to stay at the White House for Christmas 1952, and personally lit the tree.[81] Even though the Korean War was raging during Christmas 1950, 1951, and 1952, crowds were still permitted on the White House grounds. The lone exception was in 1950, when crowds were kept outside the fences due to renovations going on at the White House.[82]

Development of the Pageant of Peace and Pathway of Peace

The annual lighting ceremony for the National Community Christmas Tree was growing quickly in the 1950s. In 1953, the New York Times reported that millions of Americans were watching the ceremony on television.[83] There were also pressures to expand the event. For roughly 15 years, the ceremony had remained largely the same. A local choir would sing some carols and a military service band would play a selection of Christmas music for a half hour before the president emerged to speak briefly and light the tree. A member of the Boy Scouts of America and either the Girl Scouts of America or the Camp Fire Girls would greet the president on behalf of the people of the city of Washington. After the president returned to the White House, the band would play more music for a half hour, and then the public would be cleared from the area. In 1952, however, a group of Catholic Church sodalities asked that a nativity scene be included in the ceremony.[64] The request was repeated in 1953.[64] There was also pressure to move the ceremony off the White House's South Lawn. In 1953, only 700 members of the public were allowed onto the White House grounds (while another 3,500 watched from outside the fence) due to security concerns.[84]

1954 marked the beginning of the Pageant of Peace. The pageant was the brainchild of Edward M. Kirby, public relations counsel for the National Capitol Committee of the Washington Board of Trade.[85] Kirby had flown into the District of Columbia in early December 1953, and was disappointed that the city had none of the visual impact that other major metropolises did. On December 29, 1953, Kirby submitted a memo to the Board of Trade proposing a pageant of light, music, and art.[85] The concept evolved into a three-week-long series of nightly performances and religious observances.[86][87] The Board of Trade was also interested in the idea because of waning interest in the lighting ceremony.[86] The pageant would, however, require that the Christmas tree be moved off the White House grounds and that the tree lighting ceremony be moved from Christmas Eve to earlier in December.[86] President Dwight Eisenhower approved the plan on November 4.[88]

The 1954 Pageant of Peace was held on December 17, 1954.[88] The Ellipse became the site of the National Community Christmas Tree,[89] and cut trees were used because Park Service officials felt that a living tree would interfere with the various cultural and recreational events on the Ellipse at other times of the year.[86] The "pageant of peace" theme was intended to echo the words of the angels ("Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men")[90] during the Annunciation to the shepherds as found in the Authorized King James Version of the New Testament.[88] Most of the goods and services which made the event possible were donated: Local architecht Leon Chatelain, Jr., designed the site; Michigan State College provided the tree; the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and Norfolk Southern Railway gave the transportation to get the tree to D.C.; Pepco supplied the Christmas lights and power; Hargrove Display Decorators provided the nativity scene; the peace symbols, plaques, and trees for the "Pathway of Peace" were given by 27 U.S. states and territories and 23 embassies; and the reindeer stalls, metal fencing, stage, and wooden walkways were provided by the National Park Service.[85]

A half-hour concert by the Marine Band and the 80-voice Justin Lawrie Choir preceded the 5:00 P.M. ceremony.[91] The Pageant of Peace included a life-size nativity scene with live animals, an outdoor stage which accommodated singing groups and tableau vivant, and a "Children's Corner" with live reindeer and a place for children to donate toys to less fortunate children overseas.[88][92] Religious ceremonies and religious and secular entertainment both occurred nightly through January 6.[88] More than 6,000 people performed or participated in the pageant,[93] and 22 22 embassies took part.[94] The National Community Christmas Tree was a 67-foot (20 m) tall balsam fir from northern Michigan decorated in 2,100 red, blue, and gold lights and topped by a brilliant white star.[92][95][96] South of the tree, a "Pathway of Peace" extended in a straight line from E Street NW to the middle of the Ellipse and the National Community Christmas Tree.[85] Smaller Christmas trees decorated by U.S. states, U.S. territories, and foreign embassies stood on either side of the pathway.[92] These smaller trees were adorned with multi-colored lights and various kind of ornaments,[92] and wooden boardwalks were used to guide visitors along the path and to the various parts of the pageant (which took up much of the Ellipse).[97] Man-made snow covered the grounds, courtesy of the American Ice Co.[92] President Eisenhower lit the tree in front of 7,500 people at 5:25 P.M.[92] Six Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from around the world (flown in with funds provided by UNICEF) joined the president on the dais.[98] Movie actor Robert Montgomery, who served as Eisenhower's advisor on the president's television appearances, was also present.[92] The ceremony was carried by all the major radio and television networks.[99] The total cost of the event was set at $30,000 (about $253,000 in 2011 inflation-adjusted dollars), most of which was provided by payment in kind (although the Board of Trade contributed $7,500 in cash).[100]

The 1954 Pageant of Peace was a huge success. More than 6,000 people performed during the pageant.[101] Up to 20,000 people a day visited the event.[102] Between 300,000 and 500,000 people visited the Ellipse to see the exhibits and performances (with bumper-to-bumper traffic on nearby streets as people drove by to see the trees), and the pageant proved so popular that it was extended for two days.[96][103][104]

National Christmas Tree since 1955

Red lights adorn the state trees surrounding the National Christmas tree in 1965. Smaller live trees representing the 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia, formed a "Pathway of Peace."

A formal organization, Pageant of Peace, Inc., was formed in 1955 to take over the event from the loose confederation of business, religious, and civic groups which had organized the 1954 pageant. Spurring the legal incorporation of the group was the projected cost of the 1955 event, which was estimated to be between $35,000 and $50,000.[100] The group was incorporated on September 30, 1955, with the Board of Trade providing the seed money for the new nonprofit organization.[104] President Eisenhower had suffered a serious heart attack on September 24, 1955, and was recuperating at his farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania,[105] so the 1955 tree was lit remotely once more.[106] More than 50 embassies took part in the Pathway of Peace.[107] Attendance at the now two-week event soared to 540,000.[108] A record 51 embassies participated in the 1956 Pageant of Peace,[109] which included a {[convert|25|ft|m|adj=on}} high Christmas tree jointly donated by 11 Arab nations.[110] In 1957, the Pageant of Peace culminated in a night of folk dancing at Lisner Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University.[111] Foreign embassies were not invited to participate in the 1958 Pathway to Peace, after festival organizers came to believe that they were imposing on the legations.[112] But the embassies were invited to participate again in 1959, and did so.[113] 1959 also saw festival organizers dye the grass green for the first time.[114] When President Eisenhower lit the tree on December 23, a "Singing Christmas Tree" (a choir on an inclined grandstand holding candles, forming the triangular shape of a Christmas tree) formed a backdrop behind him.[115]

President John F. Kennedy did not light the tree in December 1961, because his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., had suffered a major stroke, so Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson lit the tree.[116] An electronic console nearby picked up musical sounds from performers on the stage, and altered the color and brightness of the tree's 3,000 multicolored lights.[117] The three lighting occurred three days earlier than usual because President Kenneday had been scheduled to leave for Bermuda to meet with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.[118] The Washington Post reported that embassies did not provide trees or symbols for the Pathway of Peace, instead participating in a music festival at Lisner Auditorium on December 26.[116] Just 16 U.S. states provides tress for the Pathway of Peace.[116] President Kennedy did light the 1962 tree (on December 17), although the changing lights used in 1961 were not used again.[119] The number of Christmas trees on the Pathway of Peace now numbered 52, including all 50 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico.[120]

The 1963 tree lighting ceremony was scheduled for December 18.[121] But President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22. President Johnson declared an official 30-day period of national mourning, which delayed lighting of the National Christmas Tree until December 22. After a one-hour candle-lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial, President Johnson traveled to the Ellipse and lit the tree.[122] In addition to the life-size nativity scene, Yule log, stage, and live reindeer, the International Paper Company donated 80 cut, small Christmas trees which were decorated with white lights and erected in the shape of a "Cross of Peace" on the Ellipse.[123] Although green dye had been used since 1959 to make the grass look green, no dye was used in 1963 due to the unusual amount of snow which covered the grounds.[124]

Small changes in the tree lighting scheme and pageant occurred throughout the 1960s. Instead of multi-colored lights, in 1964 the tree was lit with 5,000 red bulbs. It was decorated with 500 large gold ornaments, and instead of a star was topped with a white cross.[125] But when British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan visited the United States in 1965 and witnessed the tree lighting ceremony, the tree once more featured multi-colored (blue, green, and white) lights.[126] The 53 trees on the Pathway of Peace were lit with red and white bulbs.[126] In 1966, the 53 Christmas trees of the Pathway of Peace were alternatively lit in all green or all blue lights.[127] The following year, the National Christmas Tree was lit with blue lights and encircled with strings of red and white lights, and decorated with gold balls.[128] The trees on the Pathway to Peace, however, returned to multi-colored lights.[128] For the first time in the history of the tree lighting ceremony, a non-American choir (the Festival Singers of Toronto) performed at the opening event.[128] The National Christmas Tree used a blue, white, and yellow lighting scheme in 1968. When President Johnson lit the tree, a tree in the newly-electrified village of Nulato, Alaska (one of 59 rural Eskimo villages to receive electricity for the first time that year).[129] In 1969, the number of trees on the Pathway to Peace expanded to 57, to include all American unincorporated territories and the District of Columbia.[130] The National Christmas Tree that year was decorated in bands of red and white lights, and was at the top of a huge capital letter "V" formed by the Pathway's 12-foot (3.7 m) tall Red Pine trees from eastern Ohio.[130] The 1969 ceremony was interrupted by about 200 individuals protesting the Vietnam War, who repeatedly heckled the president during his short speech and who temporarily planted an 8-foot (2.4 m) tall "peace tree" a few yards from the National Christmas Tree.[130] Eight adults and a youth were arrested during the event for disorderly conduct.[130]

Cut trees continued to be used until 1973.[89] The pageant came to include elements such as a life-sized reproduction of the nativity scene, a large stage, a children's entertainment corner, and in some years live reindeer from the Washington National Zoo. Every year from 1954 to 1972, a new cut tree was brought to the White House from a different U.S. state and installed at the Ellipse for the duration of the program. The ceremony of the tree lighting was then followed by weeks of daily and nightly Christmas presentations through January 1 each year. The Pathway to Peace, leading to the National Community Christmas Tree, was bordered by smaller Christmas trees representing the states, the District of Columbia, and all unincorporated U.S. territories.[131]

Having used cut trees from around the country since 1954, the Christmas Pageant of Peace reintroduced a living tree into the ceremony in 1973, responding to hundreds of letters from individuals and environmental groups around the country requesting that conservation concerns be addressed. A 42-foot Colorado blue spruce from Pennsylvania donated by the National Arborist Association was planted in the Ellipse close to the Zero Milestone but just east of the central north-south axis.[132] In order to conserve energy, the 1973 tree was decorated primarily with non-energy-consuming decorations such as garlands and balls. With less weight and heat on the branches, this also helped preserve the tree. Yet, this tree deteriorated within a few short years. A 34-foot blue spruce from Maryland was planted in the Ellipse in November 1977, but it was blown down in high winds in January 1978.[133] The National Park Service undertook a lengthy study to find a species of tree that could thrive in the climate and soil conditions of the capital and better withstand to the annual decoration process.[131] A 30-foot (9.1 m)[133] tall blue spruce from York, Pennsylvania was planted in the Ellipse in 1978 and was employed as the National Christmas Tree until February 19, 2011 when the tree was toppled in high winds.[134] North of the tree, a bronze plaque was installed that read "National Christmas Tree, Transplanted October 11, 1978, Christmas Pageant of Peace Committee."[135]

The Washington Monument glows behind the yet-to-be-lit 1979 U.S. National Christmas Tree.

In 1979, the National Christmas Tree was only partially lit. When President Jimmy Carter sent his daughter Amy to light the tree on December 13, the switch lit only the top star on the big tree and only tiny blue lights illuminated the state trees on the Pathway of Peace. The President announced that the National Christmas Tree, a nationwide symbol, would remain dark until the American hostages in Iran were set free. General Electric had designed a scheme of multiple lighting and visual effects and an all white tree to coordinate with the theme of "Joy and Light," celebrating the 100th anniversary of Thomas Edison's invention of the practical incandescent lamp. However, the tree remained unlit. In 1980, President Carter lit the National Christmas Tree for only 417 seconds, each second symbolizing one day of captivity of the Americans hostages in Iran. When the hostages were eventually released on January 20, 1981, the tree was hastily re-decorated in time for their return.

Michelle Obama reads "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" at the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., on December 9, 2010.

Due to security concerns after an assassination attempt in March 1981, President Ronald Reagan never lit the National Christmas Tree standing on the Ellipse, but used a remote control from the White House South Portico. President George H. W. Bush resumed this tradition in 1989. A deep, brick-lined pit was dug southwest of the Pathway of Peace in 1994 and a massive bonfire, known as "Ye Olde Yule Log," added as a yearly tradition.[136] A Christian nativity scene and live music were also added that year.[136] In 1995, the National Christmas Tree was lit by solar energy for the first time. In 2007, LED Christmas lights were used, and the tree topper was refurbished to use them also. That same year, the tree lighting ceremony was officially named the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree.[137]

On Saturday, February 19, 2011, the National Christmas tree was felled after its trunk snapped in a windstorm which contained gusts of up to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h).[138] National Park Service spokesman Bill Line noted the tree was at risk since it stood alone exposed to the elements and lacked the protection of other trees.[138] Knowing the tree was at risk and would eventually need replaced, a successor tree had already been selected.[138] The new tree was planted on March 19, 2011.[139] The new tree is a 26.5-foot (8.1 m) tall Colorado blue spruce which was obtained from an unnamed tree nursery in New Jersey.[139]

Site of the National Christmas Tree

The National Christmas Tree is a living evergreen tree planted in the Ellipse in the President's Park, close to the Zero Milestone but just east of the central north-south axis.[132] In early 1974, a low stone wall was constructed around the National Christmas Tree to provide partial protection for its roots, and currently serves as the limit of the planting bed below the tree.[140] In 2001, a cast iron fence was built around the tree about 30 feet (9.1 m) from the low stone wall to protect the soil from compaction by the thousands of people who visit the tree annually.[141]

A temporary gravel road is constructed in the northeast quadrant of the Ellipse each year to give workers access to the tree for decoration.[142] A wooden snow fence is installed near the tree and around the Pageant of Peace area each year as well to protect the lawn during periods of high foot traffic.[140]

According to the National Park Service, since the National Christmas Tree and its associated ceremonies go back to a historic period in the nation's history, this cultural event has not only become historically important itself but has helped to protect the historic integrity of the Ellipse.[137] The agency says that the tree has become "a defining feature of President's Park South".[143]

A "backup National Christmas Tree" is occasionally mentioned by many sources. This tree is located southwest of Ellipse Road, where the path from the 17th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW meets the Ellipse sidewalk.[131] This tree was planted by the National Park Service as a replacement for the National Christmas Tree. However, this tree is not historic, did not grow well, and by 2010 was not considered as a backup for the National Christmas Tree any longer.[131]

Sources of National Christmas Trees

Cut evergreen trees were used in 1923, and from 1954 to 1972. Living trees were used from 1924 to 1953, and again from 1973 to the present (2011). The species, height, and sources of these trees has varied widely over time.

Pageant of Peace and Pathway of Peace

As of 2010, 56 smaller cut evergreen trees representing the states, District of Columbia, and unincorporated territories of the United States are arranged in a large oval around the National Christmas Tree each December.[144] A sign in front of each tree identifies which geographic area the small tree represents. A temporary black plastic walkway is laid down to provide pedestrian access (the actual "Pathway of Peace"), and the trees guarded by a white vinyl picket fence.

A stage and blue plywood amphitheater are erected southeast of the National Christmas Tree, and the placement of heavy plastic mats and metal folding chairs in front of the stage (with seating for only 200 people at most) creates an audience area for performances.[144] A plywood nativity scene, 15-by-10-foot (4.6 by 3.0 m) Yule log fire pit, and barn for donkeys, reinder, and sheep built south of the Pathway of Peace.[144] Speakers on high stands throughout the area broadcast the live performances, or provide recorded music for viewers' enjoyment. Since the Pageant of Peace and Pathway of Peace are traditions extending back only to 1954, they are not considered historic elements by the National Park Service.[144]

Gallery of the U.S. National Christmas Tree in recent years

See also


  1. ^ Domke and Coe, p. 89.
  2. ^ Domke and Coe, p. 88-89.
  3. ^ Ford, p. 39.
  4. ^ "Students, Artist, Create Ornaments for the National Christmas Tree." Norwich Bulletin. December 9, 2010. Accessed 2011-10-19.
  5. ^ a b Leinwand, p. 73.
  6. ^ "Vice-President F.M. Feiker." Electrical Merchandising, January 1920, p. 3. Accessed 2011-10-19.
  7. ^ Feiker later held several important U.S. government positions, and became Dean of the School of Engineering at George Washington University. See: "People of the Century." WPI Journal. Spring 1998. Accessed 2011-10-19.
  8. ^ Christmas in Washington, D.C., p. 14.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Menendez, p. 40.
  10. ^ a b c Crump, p. 402.
  11. ^ Reports of the tree's height varied considerably. The National Park Service history of the National Christmas Tree notes that media outlets reported the tree's height at 35 feet (11 m), 48 feet (15 m), and 60 feet (18 m). The agency says that photographs of the tree appear to make the height closer to 48 feet. See: Schiavo, Laura. "1923 National Christmas Tree." President's Park (The White House). National Capital Region. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. No date. Accessed 2011-10-20.
  12. ^ "Branches Spliced On Tree For President." Washington Post. December 20, 1923.
  13. ^ Christmas in Washington, D.C., p. 14-15.
  14. ^ a b Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 35.
  15. ^ a b Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 85.
  16. ^ "National Christmas Tree for President." Washington Post. December 13, 1923.
  17. ^ a b c d e f "White House Carols and Brilliant Tree Usher Christmas." Washington Post. December 25, 1923.
  18. ^ a b c d e f "Christmas Carols at the White House." New York Times. December 25, 1923.
  19. ^ Christmas in Washington, D.C., p. 15.
  20. ^ a b c Menendez, p. 41.
  21. ^ "Coolidge Will Light Big Christmas Tree." New York Times. December 7, 1924.
  22. ^ a b c "Huge Yuletide Tree for City Is Planted." Washington Post. December 18, 1924.
  23. ^ A contemporary source put the tree's height at 45 feet (14 m). See: "Coolidge Will Light Big Christmas Tree." New York Times. December 7, 1924.
  24. ^ "Coolidge Lights Up Tree to Inaugurate Nation's Christmas." New York Times. December 25, 1925.
  25. ^ a b "Coolidges Sing Christmas Carols at Community Tree." New York Times. December 25, 1924.
  26. ^ "President Will Light Big Christmas Tree." Washington Post. December 21, 1924.
  27. ^ a b "Yuletide Services to Be Held For All in Capital Tonight." Washington Post. December 24, 1924.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Schiavo, Laura. "1924-1933 National Christmas Trees." President's Park (The White House). National Capital Region. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. No date. Accessed 2011-10-20.
  29. ^ Schiavo, Laura. "1923 National Christmas Tree." President's Park (The White House). National Capital Region. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. No date. Accessed 2011-10-20.
  30. ^ One source claims the tree was lit at 6:00 P.M. See: "Coolidges Sing Christmas Carols at Community Tree." New York Times. December 25, 1924.
  31. ^ a b "Christmas Ushered In At White House and Sherman Park." Washington Post. December 25, 1924.
  32. ^ "Coolidge Lights Up Tree to Inaugurate Nation's Christmas." New York Times. December 25, 1925.
  33. ^ "Coolidge Opens Yule Festivities." New York Times. December 25, 1927.
  34. ^ Crump, p. 426.
  35. ^ "President Lights Capital Yule Tree Before Thousands." Washington Post. December 25, 1927.
  36. ^ "Coolidge Ushers In Nation's Christmas As He Lights Tree." New York Times. December 25, 1928.
  37. ^ "Capital Leads Nation in Yule Season Gayety." Washington Post. December 25, 1928.
  38. ^ Seeley, p. 22.
  39. ^ "The National Christmas Tree." American Lumberman. May 4, 1929.
  40. ^ "New Capital Yule Tree Planted as Sun Blazes." Washington Post. May 30, 1929.
  41. ^ Harris, p. 54.
  42. ^ "President Lights Tree for Nation." New York Times. December 25, 1929.
  43. ^ Christmas in Washington, D.C., p. 30.
  44. ^ Graff, p. 50; "Headquarters of Roosevelt & Co." Lilfe. January 4, 1937, p. 37.
  45. ^ "Hoover Wishes All A Merry Christmas." New York Times. December 25, 1931.
  46. ^ "Curtis Marks Debut of Yule at Ceremony." Washington Post. December 25, 1932.
  47. ^ Shemanski, p. 205.
  48. ^ "Wider E Street at 'Bottleneck' Wins Approval." Washington Post. August 25, 1933.
  49. ^ Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 87.
  50. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Schiavo, Laura. "1934-1938 National Christmas Trees." President's Park (The White House). National Capital Region. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. No date. Accessed 2011-10-20.
  51. ^ Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 37.
  52. ^ a b "Roosevelt Lights Tree." Washington Post. December 25, 1934.
  53. ^ "President Lights Tree." New York Times. December 25, 1934.
  54. ^ a b "Peace Urged By Roosevelt At Yule Tree." Washington Post. December 25, 1935.
  55. ^ "World Given Peace Pledge By President At Tree Rite." Washington Post. December 25, 1936.
  56. ^ a b "Yule Tree To Be Placed In Ellipse." Washington Post. December 9, 1939.
  57. ^ a b "Roosevelt to Light National Christmas Tree Here Sunday." Washington Post. December 21, 1939.
  58. ^ a b c Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 38.
  59. ^ Sadler, Christine. "Capital, Ready for Holiday, Prepares to Light Giant Tree." Washington Post. December 24, 1939.
  60. ^ Hart, Scott. "Roosevelt Lights Tree, Decries War." Washington Post. December 25, 1939.
  61. ^ a b Bookman, George B. "President Bares His Head to Listen To Carols With 8,000 on Ellipse." Washington Post. December 25, 1940.
  62. ^ Kluckhorn, Frank L. "President Says Christmas Signifies Bettering World in 'Voluntary Way'." New York Times. December 25, 1940.
  63. ^ Seeley, p. 42.
  64. ^ a b c d e f g h i Schiavo, Laura. "1941-1953 National Christmas Trees." President's Park (The White House). National Capital Region. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. No date. Accessed 2011-10-24.
  65. ^ "Christmas Tree Lightning Decision Expected Friday." Washington Post. December 10, 1941.
  66. ^ His potential arrival had been reported on December 19, but was not confimed until December 22. See: "Talks in Three Capitals." United Press. December 19, 1941; Post, Robert P. "Churchill's Visit Called Own Idea." New York Times. December 23, 1941; Schom, p. 248.
  67. ^ a b "Roosevelt, Churchill Voice Faith to War-Weary World." New York Times. December 25, 1941.
  68. ^ a b c Gross, Gerald G. "Leaders of Democracies Key Their Speeches To Christmas Spirit at Tree Lighting." Washington Post. December 25, 1941.
  69. ^ "Impatient Comment Stops as Churchill Speaks." Washington Post. December 25, 1941.
  70. ^ "Roosevelt to Broadcast Yule Greetings." Washington Post. December 13, 1942; Lawrence, W.H. "Axis Faith Fades, Roosevelt Says." New York Times. December 25, 1942.
  71. ^ a b Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 86.
  72. ^ "D.C. Children to Help Trim National Christmas Tree." Washington Post. December 18, 1942.
  73. ^ a b "National Tree Ceremony Holds Spotlight In Capital's 'Bright Christmas' Celebration." Washington Post. December 23, 1943.
  74. ^ "Tree Fete's Fate Up to White House." Washington Post. December 7, 1943; "President Will Not Light '43 Yule Tree." Washington Post. December 10, 1943.
  75. ^ "First Lady Intercedes to Save White Houuse Tree Ceremony." Washington Post. December 14, 1943.
  76. ^ "While House Christmas Tree Arrangements Completed." Washington Post. December 22, 1943.
  77. ^ Towe, Emily. "15,000 Take Part in Tree Ceremony at White House." Washington Post. December 25, 1944.
  78. ^ "Cold, Hungry Pledged Aid By Truman At Tree Fete." Washington Post. December 25, 1947.
  79. ^ a b c "2100 Attend White House Tree Lighting." Washington Post. December 25, 1948.
  80. ^ Leviero, Anthony. "Truman Proposes Peace Dedication." New York Times. December 25, 1948; "During Christmas Eve Program on White House Lawn." New York Times. December 25, 1949; Kennedy, Paul P. "Truman Says Faith Is Best U.S. Weapon." New York Times. December 25, 1950; Lawrence, W.H. "Truman Cites 'Higher Hope' For 'Just and Lasting Peace'." New York Times. December 25, 1951.
  81. ^ "Truman Yule Plea." New York Times. December 25, 1952.
  82. ^ "National Tree to Be Lit at 5:16 P.M." Washington Post. December 24, 1950.
  83. ^ Kennedy, Paul P. "Prayer for Peace By President Heard Round the World." New York Times. December 25, 1953.
  84. ^ Folliard, Edward T. "Hope Bright, Ike Asserts." Washington Post. December 25, 1953.
  85. ^ a b c d Ben Klein, Elihu. "One Man's Dream Came True to Give City a Glittering Pageant of Peace." Washington Post. December 28, 1954.
  86. ^ a b c d Schiavo, Laura. "1954-Present National Christmas Trees." President's Park (The White House). National Capital Region. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. No date. Accessed 2011-10-29.
  87. ^ "Eisenhower Will Light Christmas Tree Early." United Press. November 5, 1954.
  88. ^ a b c d e "Ike to Light Yule Tree Night of December 17." Washington Post. November 5, 1954.
  89. ^ a b Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 39.
  90. ^ Luke 2:14, KJV.
  91. ^ Smith, Marie D. "Concert Precedes Pageant of Peace." Washington Post. December 16, 1954.
  92. ^ a b c d e f g Folliard, Edward T. "Eisenhower Sets Peace Tree Aglow." Washington Post. December 18, 1954.
  93. ^ "Pageant of Peace Plans Ready." Washington Post. November 27, 1955.
  94. ^ Whitney, Robert. "Christmas at Washington." New York Times. December 4, 1955.
  95. ^ "Giant Fir for Peace Pageant." Associated Press. November 23, 1954.
  96. ^ a b "2100 Lights on Nation's Big Tree Twinkle in Night for Last Time." Washington Post. January 8, 1955.
  97. ^ "Nation's Trees Lighted." New York Times. December 19, 1955.
  98. ^ "Christmas Spirit Pervades the City." New York Times. December 18, 1954.
  99. ^ "Eisenhower Lights Tree In Capital Park Today." Associated Press. December 17, 1954.
  100. ^ a b "Fund Drive Planned for Yule Fete." Washington Post. February 22, 1955.
  101. ^ "Pageant of Peace Plans Ready." Washington Post. November 27, 1955.
  102. ^ "Pageant, Solemn and Gay in Tone, Draws 20,000." Washington Post. January 2, 1955.
  103. ^ "Yule Pageant Held Over Extra Day." Washington Post. January 6, 1955.
  104. ^ a b "D.C. Leaders to Continue Yule Pageant." Washington Post. October 2, 1955.
  105. ^ Gilbert, p. 87-91.
  106. ^ Sampson, Paul. "President Lights Tree to Launch D.C. Pageant." Washington Post. December 19, 1955.
  107. ^ "Embassies Plan Parts In Pageant." Washington Post. November 30, 1955.
  108. ^ "Washington Pageant of Peace Ends." Washington Post. January 3, 1956.
  109. ^ "51 Nations to Decorate Pageant Path of Peace." Washington Post. December 9, 1956.
  110. ^ "Nations to Erect Culture Symbols As Backdrop for Peace Pageant." Washington Post. December 5, 1956.
  111. ^ "Ike to Light Tree, Open Fete Tonight." Washington Post. December 23, 1957.
  112. ^ "Embassy Trees Missing From Pageant of Peace." Washington Post. December 25, 1958.
  113. ^ "Embassies Join In Yule Pageant." Washington Post. November 10, 1959.
  114. ^ Schiavo, Laura. "1954-1960 National Christmas Trees." President's Park (The White House). National Capital Region. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. No date. Accessed 2011-11-05.
  115. ^ Smith, Marie. "Already on Yuletide Threshhold." Washington Post. November 20, 1959.
  116. ^ a b c Rosenberg, M.D. "Yule Tree of U.S. Lit By Johnson." Washington Post. December 21, 1961.
  117. ^ "Tree Lights Will Change Colors With Music at Pageant of Peace." Washington Post. December 17, 1961.
  118. ^ "Peace Pageant Opens Dec. 20." Washington Post. December 14, 1961.
  119. ^ Schiavo, Laura. "1961-1962 National Christmas Trees." President's Park (The White House). National Capital Region. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. No date. Accessed 2011-11-12.
  120. ^ Gilliam, Dorothy. "President Sounds Hope for Peace In Lighting Up Nation's Yule Tree." Washington Post. December 18, 1962; Pattee, Dorothea. "Symbolic Trees for Ellipse." Washington Post. December 2, 1962.
  121. ^ "Pageant of Peace to Run Dec. 18-31." Washington Post. November 21, 1963.
  122. ^ "Words of Slain President Inspire Ceremony to End Mourning Period." Washington Post. December 19, 1963; "Johnson Pushes Button Lighting 8000 Bulbs on Nation's Yule Tree." Washington Post. December 23, 1963.
  123. ^ Clopton, Willard. "71-Foot West Virginia Yule Tree Erected on Ellipse." Washington Post. December 6, 1963.
  124. ^ Schiavo, Laura. "1963-1968 National Christmas Trees." President's Park (The White House). National Capital Region. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. No date. Accessed 2011-11-12.
  125. ^ "Gay Lights of Christmas Illuminate the Ellipse." Washington Post. December 18, 1964; Geremia, Ramon. "LBJ Sets Tree Aglow, Sees 'Star of Peace'." Washington Post. December 19, 1964.
  126. ^ a b Reekie, Keith. "LBJ Calls for Peace At Yule Tree Lighting." Washington Post. December 18, 1965.
  127. ^ "Johnson, At Tree Lighting, Is Hopeful on Vietnam." New York Times. December 16, 1966.
  128. ^ a b c Cronk, Sue. "Throng of 4500 Sees LBJ Light Yule Tree." Washington Post. December 16, 1967.
  129. ^ Hinton, Robert. "LBJ Lights Tree for 6th Time." Washington Post. December 17, 1968.
  130. ^ a b c d Carter, Philip D. "Nixon Lights National Tree, Ignores Protest in Crowd." Washington Post. December 17, 1969.
  131. ^ a b c d Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 89.
  132. ^ a b Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 42.
  133. ^ a b Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 43.
  134. ^ "Strong Winds Topple National Christmas." Associated Press. February 19, 2011.
  135. ^ Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 124.
  136. ^ a b Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 118.
  137. ^ a b Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 51.
  138. ^ a b c Huetteman, Emmarie. "Winds Topple National Christmas Tree." New York Times. February 19, 2011.
  139. ^ a b Office of Communications. "National Park Service to Plant New National Christmas Tree." Press release. National Capital Region. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. March 18, 2011.
  140. ^ a b Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 125.
  141. ^ Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 45.
  142. ^ Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 76.
  143. ^ Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 60.
  144. ^ a b c d Park Cultural Landscapes Program, p. 126.


  • Christmas in Washington, D.C. Chicago: World Book, 1998.
  • Crump, William D. The Christmas Encyclopedia. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2006.
  • Domke, David Scott and Coe, Kevin M. The God Strategy: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Ford, Elise. Frommer's Washington, D.C., 2012. Indianapolis, Ind.: Frommer's, 2011.
  • Gilbert, Robert E. The Mortal Presidency: Illness and Anguish in the White House. New York: Fordham University Press, 1998.
  • Graff, Henry Franklin. The Presidents: A Reference History. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002.
  • Harris, Jessie Eubank. Legends and Stories of Famous Trees. Philadelphia: Dorrance, 1963.
  • Leinwand, Gerald. 1927: High Tide of the Twenties. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2001.
  • Menendez, Albert J. Christmas in the White House. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1983.
  • Park Cultural Landscapes Program. National Park Service Cultural Landscapes Inventory: President's Park South, President's Park. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. 2010.
  • Schom, Alan. The Eagle and the Rising Sun: The Japanese-American War, 1941-1943, Pearl Harbor Through Guadalcanal. New York: W.W. Norton, 2004.
  • Seeley, Mary Evans. Season's Greetings From the White House. Tampa, Fla.: A Presidential Christmas, 1998.
  • Shemanski, Frances. A Guide to Fairs and Festivals in the United States. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1984.

External links

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