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      Presidential Christmas Trees

    • In 1856 Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was the first President to place a Christmas tree in the White House.

      The first electric lights on a Christmas tree in the White House were used in 1894 during the presidency of Grover Cleveland.  (Electricity dates to 1891 in the White House).

      President Calvin Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House lawn in 1923.

      First Lady Lou Henry Hoover established the custom of decorating an official tree in the White House in 1929. Since that time, the honor of trimming the Christmas tree on the state floor has belonged to our first ladies. The tree stands in the oval Blue Room, an elegant space honored as the center of holiday splendor.

      From 1948 to 1951, President Truman spent Christmas at his home in Independence, Missouri, and lit the National Community Christmas Tree by remote control. Truman agreed to stay at the White House for Christmas 1952, and personally lit the tree.

      The record for the number of trees in the White House was held for many years by the Eisenhower administration in 1959 when 26 trees filled every floor of the house. That mark was surpassed in recent times, including the Clinton administration's 36 trees in the 1997 theme of "Santa's Workshop," and the 2008 White House Christmas decorations of the Bush administration that included 27 trees as part of a theme of "A Red, White and Blue Christmas."

      In 1961, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy began the tradition of selecting a theme for the official White House Christmas tree.  She decorated the tree placed in the oval Blue Room with ornamental toys, birds and angels modeled after Petr Tchaikovsky's "Nustrcracker Suite" ballet

      In 1963, the National Christmas Tree was not lit until December 22nd, becaused of a 30-day period of mourning following the assassination of President Kennedy.

      Since 1966, the National Christmas Tree Association has given a Christmas tree to the President and first family for display in the Blue Room.

      In 1979, the National Christmas Tree was not lit except for the top ornament. This was done to honor the American hostages in Iran.

      In 1984, the National Christmas tree was lit on December 13th with temperatures in the 70's, making it one of the warmest tree lightings in history.

    • Christmas Tree History

    • The use of evergreen trees to celebrate the winter season occurred before the birth of Christ.

      The first decorated Christmas tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510.

      The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531.

      Besides evergreens, other types of trees such as cherry and hawthorns were used as Christmas trees in the past.

      Using small candles to light a Christmas tree dates back to the middle of the 17th century.

      Thomas Edison's assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882.

      Christmas tree lights were first mass-produced in 1890.

      In 1900, large stores started to erect big illuminated Christmas trees.

      The tradition of an official Chicago Christmas tree was initiated in 1913 when one was first lit by Mayor Carter H. Harrison in Grant Park.

      The official Christmas tree tradition at Rockefeller Center began in 1933. Since 2004 the tree has been topped with a 550-pound Swarovski Crystal star. And since 2007, the tree has been lit with 30,000 energy-efficient LED's which are powered by solar panels.

      Every year since 1947, the people of Oslo, Norway have given a Christmas tree to the city of Westminster, England. The gift is an expression of good will and gratitude for Britain's help to Norway during World War II.

      Since 1971, the Province of Nova Scotia has presented the Boston Christmas tree to the people of Boston, in gratitude for the relief supplies received from the citizens of Boston after a ship exploded in 1917 following a collision in the Halifax, Nova Scotia Harbor. Part of the city was leveled, killing and injuring thousands.

    • Christmas Tree Facts

      • As a Christmas tree producing state Indiana ranks 11th in the nation with 200 tree farms producing almost 200,000 harvestable trees per year according to the UDSA 2007 Ag Census.
      • There are approximately 25-30 million Real Christmas Trees sold in the U.S. every year.

      • There are close to 350 million Real Christmas Trees on Christmas Tree farms in the U.S. alone, all planted by farmers.

      • North American Real Christmas Trees are grown in all 50 states and Canada. Eighty percent (80%) of artificial trees worldwide are manufactured in China, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

      • There are more than 4,000 local Christmas Tree recycling programs throughout the United States.

      • For every Real Christmas Tree harvested, 1 to 3 seedlings are planted the following spring.

      • There are about 350,000 acres in production for growing Christmas Trees in the U.S.; much of it preserving green space.

      • There are close to 15,000 farms growing Christmas Trees in the U.S., and over 100,000 people are employed full or part-time in the industry.

      • It can take between 4 and 15 years to grow a tree of typical height (6 - 7 feet), but the average growing time is 7 years.

      • Real Trees are a renewable, recyclable resource. Artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins such as lead, cadmium and organo-tins.

        Growing Christmas trees is very labor intensive. The trees are shaped by annual pruning every year. This process is called shearing. The grower controls the growth of the tree through shearing to produce a bushy appearance and conical shape.