10 Awesome Facts About The National Christmas Tree Not to Be Missed

The lighting of the National Christmas tree has been a national tradition for longer than the tree at the Rockefellar center in NYC. 1. The lighting of the National Christmas Tree by the sitting President has been an American tradition for 95 years. 2. The first National Christmas Tree was a 48-foot Balsam Fir located on the Ellipse south of the White House. On Christmas Eve 1923, President Coolidge walked from the White House to the Ellipse and pushed a big button that turned on all the lights at dusk. It was a spectacular event with over over 6,000 people in attendance.

 

Source: Wikimedia

3. It took $5,000 worth of electrical cables to hook up over 2,500 red, white, and green electrical bulbs on the first national Christmas tree. 4. After the lighting of the first national Christmas tree, an illuminated cross was displayed on the Washington monument and men dressed up as shepherds made a symbolic journey from the tree to the monument. 5. The 1924 tree was the only year that a switch was used to light the tree. Every year before and after 1924 a button was used. 6. Since 1924, A “live Christmas tree” was used for the National Christmas Tree after President Coolidge did away with cutting and shipping in a tree for the event. There have been multiple live National Christmas Trees planted because of the damages previous trees had sustained from the weight and heat of the Christmas lights. 

 Source: The National Tree

7. There were three years during WWII from (1942 to 1944) that there was no National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony or no Christmas lights on the tree at all. 8. 1954 was the first year of the “Christmas Pageant of Peace.” The tree lighting event was moved up to December 17th and kicked off a three week celebration with nightly entertainment. In the same year, a row of trees were installed to light up each side of the path leading to the National Christmas Tree. They name this the “Pathway to Peace” because each tree along the path represented a U.S. state or territory. Both the Pageant of Peace and the Pathway to Peace are part of the annual National Christmas celebration to this day.

 Source: The National Tree

9. Since 1963, GE has designed and donated all the National Christmas Tree lights and decorations. 10. 2007 was the first year LED lights were used on the National Christmas Tree and was the most energy efficient year, until the next. The 2008 display was 50% more efficient than the previous year. This is because only LED lights were used.

2007 Display

Source: The National Tree

 

2008 Display

Source: The National Tree