Horse-drawn wagon hauls White House Christmas tree
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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the White House. The official tree has arrived.
A horse-drawn wagon hauled the 20-foot white fir. It came up the driveway to the North Portico for inspection last week. Receiving the tree were first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha and family dogs Bo and Sunny.
The family circled the tree. They smelled it and conferred. Then the first lady said, "Thumbs-up. It's a go. We're taking the tree."
Malia, holding Bo's leash, said of the tree: "It's great. It's big."
It's tradition for the first lady to preside over the tree delivery on the morning after Thanksgiving.
Odds are slim to none that it would ever be rejected. The tree is chosen weeks in advance. It comes from the farm that wins the National Christmas Tree Association contest. The winner has presented the official White House tree since 1966.
In late September, a group of White House staffers traveled to the Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Pennsylvania. They searched for a tree perfect enough to stand in the Blue Room. It will be the main attraction throughout the holiday season. The Blue Room tree cannot be taller than 18 feet. So this tree will be trimmed to fit.
The farm is run by Chris Botek. He also provided the official White House tree in 2010 and 2006.
The delivery kicks off an intense few days of round-the-clock tree trimming and wreath laying. The decorating is done by many volunteers. They help turn the White House into a winter wonderland. Many of the decorations honor military families. It's a group that Mrs. Obama supports.
She has invited military families to the White House for a first look at the decorations this week.