White House Christmas Tree: A Monument to Holiday Spirit and Government Efficiency

The official White House Christmas Tree, a Douglas Fir stands 18 1/2 feet high and nearly 13 feet wide, is seen in the Blue Room during the media preview of the White House holiday decorations December 2, 2009 at the White House in Washington, DC. The theme for the 2009 White House holiday decorations is "Reflect Rejoice Renew."

(December 1, 2009 - Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)


Tis the Season, so what could be better than a charming little story of a Christmas Tree going up at the White House? Unless you’re one of those Chrismahanukwanzakah-palooza politically correct Negative Nancy’s, I’d say absolutely nothing. So, here’s one that will surely get you in the holiday spirit.

As the centerpiece of the American Presidency and the American government for that matter, the White House is ripe with tradition. There’s a ceremony for everything. Its not Buckingham Palace; and the ceremonies aren’t always as elaborate as the “Changing of the Guard” in Britain, but there’s a fair amount of pomp and circumstance for just about everything, and the raising of the White House Christmas Tree is certainly no exception.

The history of a Christmas Tree at the White House is said to date back to Franklin Pierce who was the first to present a tree in the Executive Mansion. The practice was deemed part of the “old-fashioned American tradition” in 1889 by Benjamin Harrison and the “tradition” was carried on thereafter – with the one exception during Teddy Roosevelt’s tenure where for the sake of forest conservation, he decided that the White House should set an example by going without. His sons quickly remedied the tree-hugging demonstration by sneaking one into their bedroom. (I guess there is some debate on whether Pierce or Harrison started the tradition, but who really cares in the annuls of presidents that otherwise contributed very little to history.)

The Official White House Christmas Tree is also known as the “Blue Room” Christmas Tree because the symbol of the Season was placed in the “Blue Room” by Jacky Kennedy in 1961 so that visitors to the White House could see it. She also started the tradition of the First Lady choosing a “theme” or “motif” for the tree. She opted for a “nutcracker” theme. I am quite sure there was no symbolism intended for her philandering husband. She just really like nutcrackers.

Rituals and traditions have been added to the tree ceremony over the years and have contributed to the occasion. There have been contests for ornaments to be displayed on the tree and there is even a contest to determine the tree selected. It is brought to the White House by horse-drawn wagon and typically erected, decorated, and dedicated some time soon after Thanksgiving and this year was no exception.

DAILY MAIL UK: A new time-lapse video released by the White House reveals the sheer scale of the operation to erect the official Christmas Tree of the First Family with hundreds of workers visible as the Douglas fir begins to take shape.

Grown in Pennsylvania, the tree – which is eighteen-and-a-half feet high and nearly 13ft wide – was received by Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia last week and took four-and-a-half days to be decorated.

As well as erecting the White House’s official Christmas tree, the Obamas will also light the National Christmas Tree in Washington DC on Thursday.

Barack Obama and his family will turn the lights on at the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Presidents Park on December 9th with the event streamed live on the internet.

With an appearance from the First Family, the event is hosted by actor and hip-hop artist Common and features performances from BB King, Maroon 5, Sara Bareilles and other artists.

Michelle Obama has chosen a ‘Simple Gifts’ theme for her second Christmas in the White House, with an emphasis on friends, family, children, music and natural presents.

Many of the White House decorations are made from reusable materials such as wood, newspaper and magazines, while a pipe cleaner model of the Obamas’ dog Bo sits by a replica White House made of gingerbread.

Almost 100 volunteers from around the U.S. flew into Washington DC on the day after Thanksgiving to help decorate the White House, with its Christmas makeover expected to be seen by more than 100,000 people by the end of the month.

The timing of the White House transformation will no doubt leave Obama critics with sharpened knives. Long-term plan to reduces the U.S. budget deficit remains elusive and unemployment numbers are terrible.

Just the way we all do it in our own homes… Minus the 100 volunteers, scaffolding, BB King, and Maroon 5, of course.

Just the way we all do it in our own homes… Minus the 100 volunteers, scaffolding, BB King, and Maroon 5, of course.

There’s nothing like the efficiency of government.

Merry Christmas folks!!

(Editor's note: T. Christopher is a writer, thinker and up-and-coming figure in redefining the limited government movement, we look forward to more collaboration with T.)

1 comment:

  1. Any word on whether or not they used the Mao, transvestite and "Obama on Mt. Rushmore" ornaments this year?


Commenting here is a privilege, not a right. Comments that contain cursing or insults and those failing to add to the discussion will be summarily deleted.