Christmas Tree Lights Up Capitol Hill with Annual Ceremony

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It is a bit brighter on Capitol Hill tonight after a very festive holiday tradition. 

Thousands of hand-crafted ornaments from the Shawnee tribe and West Virginia communities sit as high as 63-feet in the air on this year’s 8,000-pound Norway Spruce from the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. 

Mountain state marching bands, lawmakers and even fourth graders all played a major role in Tuesday’s ceremony. It goes without saying, this year’s Christmas tree is all about West Virginia. 

“This is a big time for West Virginia, for us to be able to have the people’s tree for here at the Capitol,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D- WV). 

Each year, one student is chosen out of hundreds of applicants to read their winning essay in front of ceremony attendees. 

“The biggest reason I love West Virginia’s forests and public lands is because they allow me to spend time with my family,” said Ethan Reese, a fourth-grade student at Beverly Elementary School as he recited his winning essay in front of this year’s tree. 

“I’m excited that the Capitol Christmas tree is from the forest where I love to explore. I know my great, great grandfather would be so happy that almost 100 years later, our beautiful Monongahela National Forest and other state lands have been kept endlessly wild and wonderful,” said Ethan, who read his essay alongside House Speaker Mike Johnson (R- LA). 

Ethan had the distinct honor of counting down and lighting the tree harvested from his favorite national forest. The tree will stand on the Capitol’s west lawn until New Year’s Day.