We’re still three days away from Thanksgiving, but the White House is already well underway in preparing for Christmas. The 19-foot tall Christmas tree was delivered to the White House this afternoon. It arrived via a horse-drawn carriage, as a military band played the tune “Oh Christmas Tree.”
President Donald Trump and the First Lady stepped outside to receive the tree, which you can watch in the video above. They walked around the carriage to inspect the tree, and greeted the woman standing beside the horses.
The president waved at reporters as Melania Trump flashed a big smile at the crowd. The president and first lady then walked over to greet adults and children, posing for a few photos. They waved again at the reporters, President Trump was seen mouthing the word “thank you” and they walked back into the White House. As reported by CNN, it is not typical for the president to personally receive the Christmas tree, so this was a special appearance.
The White House shared on the official Twitter account that the tree is from Mountain Top Fraser Fir in Newland, North Carolina. It stands 19.5 feet high. Larry Smith, the winner of the National Christmas Tree Contest, personally delivered the tree to the White House. Smith released a statement about winning the contest. “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 has been selling Christmas trees since 1980, and previously provided a tree to former Vice President Dick Cheney in 2001. This is the first year one of Smith’s trees was selected for the White House.
President Trump later shared one of the White House tweets about the Christmas Tree. It read, “The White House Christmas tree, which serves as a centerpiece for Christmas decorations, 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.”
According to the White House Historical Association, Christmas trees have been used to decorate the White House since 1889, when President Benjamin Harrison was in office. It was previously placed in the Yellow Oval Room. In 1912, the children of President William Howard Taft made the decision to move the tree to the Blue Room, where it has been put ever since.
The National Christmas Tree Association has held a competition for the official White House Blue Room tree since 1966. A grower from North Carolina has been selected at least 13 times. Pennsylvania comes in second with 10 trees.
Christmas in the White House has been in the works for several months. Melania Trump shared on Twitter in July that preparations were in the works, writing, “Planning is underway for this year’s #Christmas at the @WhiteHouse! There is still a lot of work to be done, but I hope everyone will enjoy our final holiday vision for the People’s House.”