US Capitol Christmas Tree arrives from California

The white fir travelled 4,500 miles after being cut in October.

November 19, 2021, 3:46 PM

After nearly a year of planning and a more than 4,500-mile trek across the country, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree arrived in Washington Friday, just in time for the holiday season.

Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton accepted the tree from Forest Supervisor Ted McArthur of the Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California, overseen by the U.S. Forest Service.

"We are glad to have such a beautiful Christmas tree that all Californians and, frankly, all Americans can be proud of," Blanton said.

PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is unloaded from a flatbed truck on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 19, 2021 in Washington, D.C.  This year's   Tree is an 84-foot white fir from the Six Rivers National Forest in northwest California.
The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is unloaded from a flatbed truck on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 19, 2021 in Washington, D.C. This year's Capitol Christmas Tree is an 84-foot white fir from the Six Rivers National Forest in northwest California.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

This year's tree is an 84-foot white fir nicknamed "Sugar Bear."

After being harvested on Oct. 23, it made stops at various communities along the continental U.S. on its way to the nation's capital.

The Six Rivers National Forest said the motto for this year's donation was "Many Peoples One Tree."

PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is unloaded from a flatbed truck on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 19, 2021 in Washington, D.C.  This year's   Tree is an 84-foot white fir from the Six Rivers National Forest in northwest California.
The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is unloaded from a flatbed truck on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 19, 2021 in Washington, D.C. This year's Capitol Christmas Tree is an 84-foot white fir from the Six Rivers National Forest in northwest California.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is unloaded from a flatbed truck on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 19, 2021 in Washington, D.C.  This year's   Tree is an 84-foot white fir from the Six Rivers National Forest in northwest California.
The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is unloaded from a flatbed truck on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 19, 2021 in Washington, D.C. This year's Capitol Christmas Tree is an 84-foot white fir from the Six Rivers National Forest in northwest California.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Over the next few days, the tree is expected to be decorated with LED lights and ornaments made in different California communities.

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree tradition started back in 1964 when then-Speaker of the House John W. McCormack, D-Mass., placed a live tree on the Capitol lawn.

The tree lived for a few years before succumbing to wind and root damage.

PHOTO: The 84-foot white fir Christmas tree is lifted from the truck upon its arrival from California at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Nov. 19, 2021.
The 84-foot white fir Christmas tree is lifted from the truck upon its arrival from California at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Nov. 19, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

In order to keep the tradition alive, in 1970 the Architect of the Capitol asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide a Christmas tree and since then, a different national forest is chosen each year to provide "The People's Tree."

A lighting ceremony is expected to happen in early December with the Architect of the Capitol and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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