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White House Christmas Tree – 2017: Holiday in the National Park

Published by Gregory Relyea

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The White House Christmas theme for 2017 is “Holiday in the National Parks.” Current First Lady Laura Bush suggested this year’s National Park theme because of her interest in the Parks.

The official 2017 White House Christmas Tree is a Fraser fir, grown in N.C. This official tree, set up and displayed in the Blue Room, is an important part of the White House holidays. The White House Floral Department staff and volunteers decorated this year’s choice fir in keeping with the theme of “Holiday in the National Parks.”

Hundreds of individual ornaments, including one for each of the U.S. national parks, memorials and monuments, festoon both public and private rooms. Staff at each site selected an artist to design an ornament illustrating that specific site. The National Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House holds the majority of these ornaments.

Access and view photos of the 347 hand painted ornaments depicting the U.S.A. national parks, historic sites, seashores, memorials and monuments at the Home and Holidays section of The Official White House Site.

White House Christmas Traditions

American presidents and their families have always welcomed guests to a decked out White House during the Holidays. In 1889, during the Presidency of Benjamin Harrison, a decorated tree on Christmas morning began the tradition of a White House Christmas Tree.

However, former First Lady Jackie Kennedy and her choice of a “Nutcracker” theme began modern holiday traditions in 1961. Learn more about White House Trees from the Hoover (1929-1933) Administration to the present by accessing Christmas and Holidays at the White House.

The 2017 National Christmas Tree

The official 2017 White House Christmas Tree is an 18-foot Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri) grown in Laurel Springs, N.C. by Joe Freeman and Linda Jones of Mistletoe Meadows Christmas Tree Farm. Freeman and Jones earned this honor by winning the National Christmas Tree Association’s (NCTA) White House Christmas Tree contest in August 2006. The NCTA represents over five thousand Christmas Tree professionals and promotes using real trees for the holidays. NCTA members have shared the honor of presenting the official White House Christmas Tree since 1966.

White House Chief Usher Stephen Rochon, Superintendent of Grounds Irv Williams, Grounds Foreman Mike Lawn and White House Florist Nancy Clarke handpicked the White House Christmas Tree on Oct. 16. A horse-drawn carriage delivered the official White House Christmas tree on Monday, Nov. 26, to the North Portico of the White House.

Fraser firs (Abies fraseri), native primarily to Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia and extensively grown on tree farms, are popular choices for Christmas trees. North Carolina currently produces most of the Fraser fir Christmas trees. On average, a 6-7 foot Fraser fir grows from seven to 10 years in the field before becoming a Christmas tree. Fraser fir characteristics that attract residential as well as commercial Christmas tree connoisseurs are:

  • form,
  • needle retention,
  • dark blue-green color, and
  • pleasant scent.

Simulated White House Holiday Tours

Learn more about the National Christmas Tree and enjoy a virtual White House holiday tour by accessing online videos and photo essays at the official White House website.

Home and Garden TV presents The 2017 White House Christmas Special, “Holiday in the National Park “,a half-hour program, hosted by Sabrina Soto, between now and December 25. This yearly special takes viewers inside the president’s residence to see how dozens of decorators, bakers and volunteers bedeck the “people’s house” for the holidays.

Below are the air times for the HGTV 2017 White House Christmas Special:

  • December 16, 2017 8:30 PM ET/PT (Premiere)
  • December 17, 2017 12:30 AM ET/PT
  • December 25, 2017 1:00 PM ET/PT

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