Donald and Melania Trump Welcome White House Christmas Tree in Annual Tradition

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the White House!

On Monday, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump officially kick started the Christmas festivities in the nation's capital by welcoming the 2018 White House Christmas tree, an annual event that was watched around the world.

The North Carolina-grown tree, standing 19-feet-tall and hailing from Mountain Top Fraser Fir farm in Newland, North Carolina, arrived via horse and carriage as Christmas carols played.

Mountain Top Fraser Fir's Larry Smith was named "Grand Champion" in the National Christmas Tree Association's contest last summer, marking his fifth attempt to win the honor, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Retailing Christmas trees since 1980, Smith provided a tree for the Vice President's residence in 2001.

"I feel as though I have finally won the Super Bowl. It's a great honor to represent the Christmas tree industry by providing the Official White House Christmas Tree in 2018," Smith said in a statement.

The tradition of the White House Christmas tree dates back to 1889, when President Benjamin Harrison placed the first tree in the Yellow Room, according to the White House Historical Association. The tree was decorated with candles and toys from his grandchildren. Although the first tree was placed in the White House during Harrison's administration, in the years that followed, it largely depended on presence of young children or grandchildren.

In 1912, the Taft children placed the first tree on the State floor in the Blue Room. In 1929, the tradition of a Blue Room Christmas tree officially began when First Lady Lou Henry Hoover oversaw the decoration of the first "official" tree.

In 1966, the National Christmas Tree Association began holding an annual competition for the official White House Blue Room tree.


Now, the official White House Christmas tree serves as a centerpiece for Christmas decorations. It also must meet specific requirements before being selected, including the order that it must stand "18-19 feet tall and reach the ceiling of the Blue Room, where the chandelier is removed each holiday season to accommodate the tree."

Although Monday's tree arrival marked the official start of the Christmas festivities, preparations for the holidays have been underway for months. In July, the first lady shared a photo from a planning session, led by the East Wing, showing gold ornaments and red berries.