The Christmas Season has Officially Arrived on Capitol Hill

November 23, 2020 by Dan McCue
The 2020 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – Bathed in chill sunlight and standing just yards from where work crews continue to build the platform for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, the Capitol Christmas tree was already a destination in its own right Monday as a handful of families gravitated to West Lawn to give their children an early peak.

Though almost all of the U.S. Capitol building’s west lawn is fenced off for the inaugural preparations, parents and kids, in twos and threes, stood along the temporary railing or made their way onto the single accessible path onto the lawn to snap a quick photograph.

Meanwhile, workers with the Architect of the Capitol’s staff worked diligently to get thousands of LED lights on the 55-foot Engelmann spruce, which arrived Friday from western Colorado’s Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests.

The placement of the tree on the west lawn of the Capitol is the continuation of a 50-year tradition. Each year the Architect of the Capitol collaborates with the U.S. Forest Service to cut and deliver what some call the “people’s tree” cross-country from a different national forest. Last year’s tree made the journey from Carson National Forest in New Mexico.

Once the lights are in place, a team of workers with the AOC Capitol Grounds and Arboretum office will decorate it with thousands of handcrafted ornaments made by Colorado school children.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will officially light the tree during a ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 2. The ceremony will be carried live by C-SPAN starting at 5 p.m.

Every night thereafter through Christmas, the tree will be lit from nightfall until 11 p.m. 

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