With the holidays quickly approaching and work pulling me to places far from my Northern Virginia home I thought I would put together a quick entry that looked at 3 years of the National Christmas Tree.
My first Visit to the National Christmas Tree
I first saw the National Christmas tree four years ago and it’s always been a fun way for me to get into the holiday spirit. This year marked the 90th anniversary of the National Christmas Tree and this years tree is the third one in just three years.
When I first visited the National Christmas Tree it had been in place for over thirty years. Here’s a look at the 1977-2010 Christmas Tree:
The 1977-2010 National Christmas Tree (a blue spruce) stood over 30 feet tall and came from York, PA.
While the big tree gets all of the attention in the press there’s also smaller trees surrounding the main tree. Each of the smaller trees represent a US state or territory and is decorated with ornaments from that state/territory. It’s a lot of fun to locate your own state or a state where you may have once lived.
While it wasn’t what you would consider a “perfectly shaped” example of a Christmas Tree it was a source of national pride for me. Like so many things about Washington, DC it is there for an entire nation.
My Second National Christmas Tree
But tragedy struck the National Christmas Tree in February of 2011 when a huge gust of wind felled the tree. Unfortunately, its location on the Elipse didn’t afford it the protection of nearby trees so it was always at risk. Because of that risk a replacement tree was already selected and ready to be put into service. Here’s a look at the 2011-2012 National Christmas Tree:
The 2011 National Christmas Tree was a 26.5 foot tall Colorado Blue Spruce that came from a nursery in New Jersey.
My Most Recent Visit to the National Christmas Tree
Unfortunately, the new Christmas Tree was declared Dead by the National Park Service in May of 2012. According to the NPS the tree suffered from “Transplant shock” (the exceptionally warm summer of 2011 and the winter of 2011-2012 also played a role). For Christmas 2012 we would have our third National Christmas Tree in just three years. Here’s another look at the 2012 National Christmas Tree:
Also a Colorado blue spruce, the 2012 National Christmas Tree arrived in Washington, DC in late October (2012) and was planted just days before Hurricane Sandy would arrive in the Nations capital. Park Service horticulturists felt the tree was safer planted in the ground than in the container in which it was shipped so wires were attached to the tree to help stabilize it, and a special base surrounded the roots to help prevent flooding. The special base was hidden by mulch and soil and it looks to have worked perfectly.
I know it’s still the first year of this tree but I hope that it will last for many years to come. Washington, DC is a place of history and when you visit something that has been in place for years it feels a little more special.
For a quick comparison I put the three National Christmas Trees together in a single image: