Here in Oregon, we’re known for our trees. Pine, Douglas fir, hemlocks—we’ve got it all. We are incredibly proud of our forests and all the beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer. This year, Oregon is honored to provide the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from our very own Willamette National Forest.
Since 1964, a different national forest has been chosen each year to provide “The People’s Tree” to display at the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC for the holiday season. The People’s Tree is known as a symbol of hope and holiday spirit and is an annual tribute to our stunning national forests. The tree representing Oregon and our national forests this year is an 80-foot-tall, lush, blue-green Noble fir. The tree arrived in Washington DC on November 25th, but first, went on a nationwide tour!
The tree traced the more-than-3,000-mile Oregon Trail (backwards!) to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the journey that settlers first undertook to reach the Pacific Coast. Along the way, it made a number of stops to celebrate the journey with festive events at museums, state capitols, schools, markets and more. You can find the completed tour here: https://www.capitolchristmastree.org/tour.
Once the tree finally reached its destination, it wasn’t the only thing representing Oregon at the capitol! Tillamook was proud to provide our local dairy products at all 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas functions in Washington D.C. to give attendees a true taste of the Pacific Northwest. Representing the state and the Oregon communities we love at such a historic event is a tremendous honor and we couldn’t wait to show the nation what makes our home so special and unique.
Oregon also sent a very special attendee to accompany our tree to Washington DC: Brigette Harrison, a fourth grader at Jackson Elementary School in Hillsboro, OR. More than 1,200 students participated in an essay contest describing what they love about Oregon to honor this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree theme, “Find Your Trail”.
Bridgette’s “Night Before Christmas”-style-essay describes the beauty in all of Oregon’s seasons and perfectly captures the wonder that makes the Pacific Northwest such a magical place to live. As our winner, Bridgette (and one adult guardian!) flew to Washington D.C. to help the U.S. Speaker of the House light the People’s Tree during the official ceremony and attend all the annual tree lighting festivities. Read Bridgette’s essay here: https://www.capitolchristmastree.org/The-Peoples-Tree/contest.