National Christmas Tree

National Christmas Tree The National Christmas Tree is a large evergreen tree located in the northeast quadrant of The Ellipse near the White House in Washington, D.C.

Each year since 1923, the tree has been decorated as a Christmas tree. Every early December, the tree is traditionally lit by the President of the United States. Every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has made formal remarks during the tree lighting ceremony. Since 1954, the event has marked the start of month-long festivities known as the Pageant of Peace. Smaller trees representing the U.S. states, District of Columbia, and the five territories around the National Christmas Tree are referred to as the Pathway to Peace.Beginnings of the National Christmas Tree tradition1923 treeThe idea of a decorated, outdoor national Christmas tree originated with Frederick Morris Feiker. Feiker was a highly educated engineer who had been a technical journalist for General Electric from 1906-1907 and editor of Electrical World and Electrical Merchandising from 1915 to 1921. In 1921, Feiker joined the personal staff of United States Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover as a press aide. The Society for Electrical Development (an electrical industry trade group) was looking for a way to encourage people to purchase more electric Christmas lights and use electricity, and Feiker suggested that President Calvin Coolidge personally light the tree as a way of giving Christmas lights prominence and social cachet. Vermont Republican Senator Frank L. Greene accompanied Feiker to the White House, where they successfully convinced Coolidge to light the tree.

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