Christmas in August

It’s beginning to look at least a little like Christmas now that an 88-foot tall Engelmann spruce from Colville National Forest in Colville, WA has been selected to serve as this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

The announcement was made this week by Forest Supervisor Laura Jo West:

“‘It’s a very beautiful tree, one that the people of this great state will be proud to send to our nation’s capital,’ said West. …

“Last month, Ted Bechtol, Superintendent of grounds at the U.S. Capitol, visited the Colville National Forest to look at all the candidate trees identified. He evaluated trees in Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille Counties.  Bechtol shared, ‘All of the candidate trees are excellent specimens, but the chosen tree has the fullness and width needed for the Capitol grounds.’”

The tradition of “The People’s Tree” dates back to 1964, when a 24-foot tall Douglas fir was planted on the Capitol grounds at the suggestion of Speaker John McCormack.   After the fir died in 1968, the nation’s Forest Service began providing the tree. 

After being harvested on November 1, this year’s spruce will make its way from that Washington to this one by way of several stops in cities and towns across the nation before arriving at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol just before Thanksgiving.  In early December, members of the House, Senate, and Capitol community will gather for a ceremony where Speaker Boehner and a student from Washington State will light the tree.  To get a better sense of the process, this time-lapse we put together in 2011 takes you from arrival to lighting in about 45 seconds:

So, although it’s been said many times, many ways: stay tuned to Speaker.gov for updates.