2019's National Community Christmas Tree

National community Christmas trees have been decorated on the ground of our nation's capital since 1923. Every December a tree is commemorated with a lighting ceremony by/with our current president.

This outdoor tradition started with an engineer from General Electric (GE) in hopes to persuade Americans to buy more electric lights and therefore use more electric energy. The first national holiday tree was a 48 ft tall Balsam fir donated by Middlebury College in Vermont. The tree, slightly damaged during transport, was decorated with over $5000 worth of electric lights equaling 2,500 bulbs ranging from red, white, and green. The ceremony was led by President Coolidge and included 3,000 city school children singing carols along with a performance of the United States Marine Band. This event was broadcasted on NBC via radio.

An inspection in 1929 discovered the adorned spruce had been damaged by the heat and weight of the holiday lights. To prevent further damage, string bulbs of lower wattage were hung in on subsequent trees. Fences were also implemented for underground root protection.

Throughout the years officials received complaints and criticism for the use of cut trees. The ceremony of 1973 would be the first to plant the celebrated tree on white house grounds. A 30-year-old Colorado blue spruce was delivered to DC and planted by the National Park Service (NPS).

This year our decorated evergreen resides in the northeast quadrant of the White House territory in Washington DC. The 2019 national holiday tree is a 30 feet Bluespruce that was decorated and lit on December 5.

 

 

Photo courtesy of WTOP and can be accessed here.

 

Trees and Spirituality

Modern science tells us that everything in the universe is simply energy. Photosynthetic organisms are the only beings capable of converting and disseminating solar energy. Collective forests of the world create a vast network of interlinking energy. They support and balance the earth’s biosphere while also assisting in vibrational harmony.
 
Humans have always had a unique relationship with nature. Ancient mythologies and beliefs have revered trees as symbols of wisdom, power, renewal, and fertility. The Cosmic Tree or the Tree of Life has been commonly celebrated and worshipped throughout all regions of the earth. Groves were regarded as sanctuaries for spiritual journeys. The largest, and therefore wisest, trees have been used as channels for connecting with the divine.
 
There is no coincidence that spiritual leaders such as Jesus Christ and Buddha offered teachings and achieved enlightenment under the canopy of trees. Our perception of nature expands as we develop our spiritual beliefs and practices. Some trees may be calming and relaxing; others may be energizing and evoke inspiration. Each tree species has a unique set of qualities that it imparts to the wider environment.
 
Trees connect and integrate two planes of existence, with roots anchored deep within the earth and their crowns diverging towards the heavens. Trees are known to affect our physical and mental being. A walk in the forest has been shown to decrease stress and promote a calmer demeanor. Trees perpetuate the natural flow of energy throughout the earth. Additionally, these organisms may also accompany us on our own spiritual journeys if we let them.
 

 Morgan Garner is the administrator for American Grove.

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