Horse-drawn wagon hauls White House Christmas tree
Horse-drawn wagon hauls White House Christmas tree The official White House Christmas tree, from the Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Pennsylvania, pulls up to the North Portico of the White House. At left, ornaments hang on the tree (Reuters)
Horse-drawn wagon hauls White House Christmas tree
Lexile: 1200L

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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the White House now that the official tree has arrived.

A horse-drawn wagon hauled the 20-foot white fir 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, smelled it and conferred before 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 at 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 including the chief usher, groundskeeper and chief horticulturist traveled to the Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, to search for a tree they agreed is perfect enough to stand in the Blue Room, as the main attraction throughout the White House holiday season. The Blue Room tree cannot be taller than 18 1/2 feet, so this tree will be trimmed to fit.

The farm, run by Chris Botek, a second-generation Christmas tree farmer, also provided the official White House tree twice before, in 2010 and 2006.

The delivery kicks off an intense few days of round-the-clock tree trimming, wreath laying and other decorating by an army of volunteers who help turn the White House into a winter wonderland. Many of the decorations honor military families, a group that Mrs. Obama is trying to support through a nationwide initiative.

She has invited military families to the White House for a first look at the decorations this week.

Critical thinking challenge: The White House Christmas Tree is a tradition. Why is it delivered on a horse-drawn wagon?

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Assigned 12 times

  • sl2000soccer
    12/04/2014 - 08:42 a.m.

    The white house Christmas tree is delivered on a horse-drawn wagon because it is too big to fit in or on a car, and horses are meant to carry big things. Also, the tree should look official because it belongs to the white house and it will honor military families with the decorations it has.

  • r2000soccer
    12/04/2014 - 08:42 a.m.

    the tree delivered on a horse-drawn wagon because maybe Obama want to every one to see me Christmas tree. The tree is chosen weeks in advance at the farm that wins the National Christmas Tree Association contest. The winner has presented the official White House tree.

  • TE2001lego
    12/04/2014 - 12:59 p.m.

    That Christmas tree is huge no really it's huge I mean look at it amazing I bet the president and his family and his dog is decorating the tree right now too.

  • clairedoucet
    12/04/2014 - 01:16 p.m.

    It sounds like when the tree arrives at the white house it kicks off Christmas for their family and staff. The tradition about the tree is that everyone in the white house has had a tree in the past so they just want to carry out the tradition. It is very sweet of the Obamas to put ornaments that honor military families on the tree because it shows that they really care about them and most military families can't always be together for the holidays.

  • JuvenileJellyfish
    12/04/2014 - 02:11 p.m.

    Well its good to see that the White house is getting festive, but it would be cooler if like they had likes lights all around the house and like a bunch of inflatable snowmen.

  • williamp-Fit
    12/04/2014 - 03:03 p.m.

    I always wondered the background information about the big Christmas tree at the white house and I am glad I know now. I was very surprised when i herd that the big tree was hauled by a house-drawn wagon. I wonder if that's for tradition. I also thought that is really special that army volunteers decorate for Christmas at the white house. I also think its good that the decorations honor military families.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    12/04/2014 - 05:54 p.m.

    I wonder if they are going to decorate the whole tree or not. My favorite party about Christmas has nothing to do with gifts or anything like that. I like how everyone seems so kind and cheerful, letting all of their worries and bad tempers go for a little while.

  • annel-Fit
    12/05/2014 - 09:17 a.m.

    For years, the White house Christmas tree has been a huge deal. Tours for military families are set up so they can see the famous tree. Every year since 1966 there is a big competition to see which tree will have the honer of being in the white house. It's a tradition because one, its been going on for so long and it's something that people expect every year. Because of technology back when the competition started the only way to go something so big to the White House was by a horse-drawn wagon. Now it has become and tradition and also in my opinion, very festive and Christmasy.

  • ShaniaWentz-Ste
    12/05/2014 - 11:36 a.m.

    I would love to have a 20 foot Christmas tree at my house! I love Christmas, so that would be a huge addition to my Christmas favorites. Also, having the tree come from Pennsylvania three times is really cool and makes me proud because PA is a great state, and it's a good thing when PA gets some national respect.

  • AlexisKrise
    12/05/2014 - 01:56 p.m.

    Why do they need a tree so large? Why don't they plant the tree on the property to see how many trees they can get over the years? Pine trees last a fairly long time. They don't need to kill the trees simply because they want one that isn't going to last for more than a month or two at most. It's ridiculous for them to spend the UNITED STATE'S money on THEIR likes and dislikes. Obama probably won't be in office for much longer anyway, so why bother with a huge, once alive, tree? Get a fake one instead and stop spending OUR money!

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