Friday, December 28, 2012

The National Christmas Tree and DC

A month long, yearly holiday tradition started in 1923, a visit to the National Christmas Tree is a must for those that live near or far.  Journalist, Editor and Engineer, Frederick Morris Feiker had the idea to decorate and light the first National Christmas tree.  Being a press aide for the United States Secretary of Commerce, under Calvin Coolidge's presidency, Feiker collaborated with The Society of Electrical Development.  They're main goal was to get Americans to use more electricity, and what better way than to show the city and the nation a beautifully lit Christmas tree, standing near the most prestigious family home in America, known as The White House!  Result:  Everyone will want their own Christmas tree and BOOM!!!  Electricity will really take off:)

The first National Christmas tree was a Balsam Fur which stood at 48 feet in height.  It was donated after collaboration between Feiker and the president of the Middlebury College in Vermont.  As soon as the tree was delivered to DC, Feiker got to work!!!  He assembled local civic groups to assemble and decorate the tree and the United States Electrical Industry donated $5,000 in lights and cables to illuminate it!

At dusk, on Christmas Eve, 1923, President Coolidge lit the Christmas tree around 6,000 citizens.  NBC broadcast the event details over the radio so that others across the nation could join in the fun.  Choirs of local school children sang Christmas carols in front of the tree and The United States Marine Corps Band played music.  The whole event struck a chord so deep in the American people that year after year the peace, love and joy people feel around the tree and their loved ones makes our holidays merry and bright:)

Over the years changes were made, live trees have been planted, menorahs have been lit, nativities assembled, Santa even has a small workshop there where children off all ages can whisper their Christmas wishes into his ear and take their photo with Ole Saint Nick;)  One of my favorite additions are all the smaller surrounding trees you'll find around the National Christmas tree, it is called the Pathway to Peace, which is a wonderful representation of the US States, DC and unincorporated territories of the United States of America.  Find the state tree where you're from, or where your loved ones live and take pictures, you are guaranteed to feel warm and fuzzy inside despite the frosty weather:)

If DC is a trip for you, make a day of it!!!  There is plenty to see and do, just remember to eat, drink, rest and bundle up, because it's cold outside!!!

Favorites on my list:  The National Gallery of Art, visit not only the beautiful works of art inside, but take time to ice skate on a circular rink outside in the sculpture garden with friends and loved ones; The Freer and Sackler Galleries, home to the wonders of Asian art,  The Hirshorn, a contemporary art fans dream come true and the Botanical Garden, which is a Holiday wonderland this time of year.  Not only can you visit lush jungles and dry deserts, but the lobby inside is decorated with poinsettias and miniatures of the surrounding DC monuments and memorials, its all absolutely free, so stop on in for a visit!!!

Places to Eat, drink and be merry:  Old Ebbitt Grill, Elephant and Castle, Lincoln, Cafe Soleil,  which are all within walking distance or short cab rides from the National Mall:)

Tres American:)

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