The decoration of the Christmas tree has been a holiday tradition for hundreds of years. It is, in fact, one of the most popular traditions each season, as families from around the world flock out to stores and tree stands to find just the right tree to decorate. Most Christmas trees are firs, but in more recent years artificial trees made from plastic or feathers have been used as well.
The Christmas tree is often decorated with a host of lights and ornaments and traditionally has an angel or a star placed upon the top branches, most often to represent those found in the Nativity story. There is a little bit of controversy surrounding the Christmas tree, as some religious cultures oppose its use and others interpret its meaning differently.
What remains the same year after year, however, is the joy found on the faces of millions each year as trees are erected in homes and public squares and lit each evening with thousands of brilliant lights. No matter where you turn you’re going to see brilliantly decorated trees, some with painstaking detail. We’ve made a collection of some of the most beautiful trees in the country and, hopefully, you’ll get to see a few of them for yourself this year!
The National Christmas Tree – Washington, DC
Every year since 1923 the United States has erected a National Christmas Tree. The tree is usually a Colorado blue spruce, standing at least 40 feet tall, and is always erected on the Ellipse, on the South side of the White House. Every state sends ornaments for the tree, which is encased in a gigantic plastic globe to protect it from the elements! This year’s official tree lighting ceremony will be held on December 4th at 5pm! There will be plenty of hotel specials this Christmas in the Washington, DC area, but you’ll need to book quickly if you want to find a hotel within reasonable distance to the attractions you wish to visit!
The White House – Washington, DC
The White House is the home of not one Christmas Tree, but many. The First Lady traditionally chooses the theme for the tree, which is then decorated by artisans from around the country.
In 2001, for example, Laura Bush chose a “Home for the Holidays” theme, and artisans created decorations that represented historic houses in each state. Trees in other rooms, such as the blue room, are decorated with colorful and meaningful mementos as well.
Rockefeller Center – New York City
Millions of locals and tourists flock to Rockefeller Center throughout the holiday season to catch a glimpse of not only the ice skaters but of the enormous and beautifully decorated tree as well. The area surrounding the tree is usually guarded by angels, nutcrackers, and a number of other astounding decorations.
The tree at Rockefeller Center is one of the most popular and most visited trees in the area. This year’s official tree lighting is scheduled to be held on December 3rd. The city of New York will be bustling with Christmas hotel specials to accommodate the holiday shows, shopping, and tourism associated with the season, so make sure you grab your space as early as possible if you plan to visit.
Disney World – Orlando, Florida
The folks at Disney work overtime each year to make sure visitors to their parks feel at home during the holiday seasons. Each park has a unique Christmas tree, decorated to correspond with the theme of not only the park but the section in which it’s located. The holiday spirit is certainly in the air every year, no matter where in Disney you go!
Daley Plaza – Chicago, Illinois
Chicago has held an annual tree lighting ceremony for years and years, and this year will be no different. Celebrating 95 years of holiday spirit, the 2008 tree lighting ceremony will take place on December 2nd at 12:30pm.
The annual ceremony features performances by the Chicago Children’s Choir and other theatrical groups before the 90 foot tall tree is illuminated!
San Francisco Tree Lightings – California
Several incredible tree lighting ceremonies take place throughout San Francisco each and every holiday season.On dates ranging from November 16th through November 29th you’ll find a myriad of events, from the Holiday Lighting Ceremony in the Hyatt Regency San Francisco lobby (an indoor 45 foot tree!), to Holiday Harmony at Pier 39, to the Lighting of the Civic Center Plaza Tree – and much more! It’s safe to say that no matter where you are in San Francisco you’re likely to find a beautiful tree to visit!
No matter where you go in the United States this holiday season you’re bound to find Christmas tree and light displays more colorful and brilliant than ever before. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season – it’ll be over before you know it!