Minnesota Has Bragging Rights To This Year’s National Christmas Tree
To be able to say our Nation’s Christmas tree proudly standing on the Capitol lawn during the holidays came from your home state is a big deal and if you live in Minnesota you have bragging rights for 2014! Not only will the tree come from Minnesota but many of the ornaments hanging on the tree will come from school children and residents of Minnesota too!
First a history lesson. The tradition started back in 1964 when then House Speaker, John W. McCormack, a Democrat from Massachusetts put a live Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn.That tree actually lived for three years before getting root damage. Then in 1970 a capitol architect asked a U.S. Forest Service if they could deliver a tree to be used as the Nation’s Christmas tree. Since then, a different National Forest has provided a tree for the honor. They call it “The People’s Tree”. The same National Forest that’s chosen for the BIG tree also provides all the smaller trees you would see in the government offices.
This year, the honor goes to the Chippewa National Forest, whose offices are in Cass Lake, MN. They will be choosing the perfect 65 foot tree that will be on the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol during the holidays. They are already on the search for a spruce or balsam fir. This is only the second time that the Chippewa National Forest has been asked to provide the tree. It was back in 1992 that the Leech Lake Reservation provided a 60 foot white spruce. Along with the tree thousands of ornaments made by local school children were also sent. And that’s where you come in (if you’re crafty).
Forest staff is working with communities, organizations and schools to create more than 10,000 handmade ornaments for the trees. In fact, the St. Louis County Fair on the Range held an ornament contest this year.
It is expected that the tree will be cut late this fall. Once the tree arrives at the Capitol there will be a tree lighting ceremony and it will be lit every night from dusk until 11pm throughout the holiday season. You will definitely be able to tell the state the tree was felled. There are plans to have it decorated with things that scream Minnesota, like loons and walleyes. I just wonder if anyone is planning on a mosquito ornament. That totally makes sense to me!
What do you think we should hang on the National Christmas Tree that would make it more Minnesotan?