The National Christmas Tree is a living tree located on the Ellipse near the White House. It is decorated and lit as a part a three-week holiday celebration. The design is unique each year.
The Capitol Christmas tree in Washington, D.C., is decorated with 3,000 ornaments that are the handiwork of U.S. schoolchildren. Encircling evergreens in the ‘Pathway of Peace’ represent the 50 U.S. states. The Tree has been an American tradition since 1964. The first tree was a live 24-foot Douglas fir planted on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The original Capitol Christmas Tree died after the 1968 tree lighting ceremony due to a severe wind storm and root damage. The tree was removed and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service has provided the trees since 1969.
The Vatican Christmas Tree: During an audience Sunday with pilgrims from Austria who brought the Christmas tree that will adorn St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI said the “green color and the lights on its branches are symbols of life. In addition, they remind us of the mystery of the Holy Night. Christ, the Son of God, brings a new hope and a new splendor to the confused, cold and unredeemed world in which he is born.”
After expressing his thanks for the 120 year-old tree that rises 108 feet, which will be placed in St. Peter’s Square together with other trees donated by the Austrian faithful, the Pope recalled the rich Christian tradition of Austria and said that faithful there should work to preserve the testimony of Christ to “provide men guidance in their lives.”