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: 1010L

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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 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. It will be the main attraction throughout the White House holiday season. The Blue Room tree cannot be taller than 18 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. It's 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 2 times

  • JackS-4
    12/04/2014 - 07:29 p.m.

    The morning after Thanksgiving, the official White House tree has been delivered, and everyone likes it. It is a 20-foot fir grown in Leighton, Pennsylvania. the tree can be at a maximum of 18 and 1/2 feet, so workers are trimming around the clock to make it perfect for the blue room. Many other decorations in the White House are dedicated to families of those serving in the armed forces.

    Christmas is looking good at all the White House this year with a 20-foot Christmas tree. Tradition is good, but it is a little strange to have it in a horse-drawn carriage

  • LaurenT-5
    12/04/2014 - 08:44 p.m.

    The White House is getting ready for Christmas and have gotten their Christmas tree delivered by a horse-drawn wagon. The tree was brought right after Thanksgiving, and the First Lady, Michelle, was there to walk by aside it, to carry on a tradition. The tree was chosen weeks before getting it at the farm that wins the National Christmas Tree contest. The owner of the farm also supplied the White House with a tree two years before that. The tree has a lot of trimming to do and many ornaments honor the military. I think that it is very cool to have such a large tree. I cant imagine have a tree delivered by a horse-drawn wagon.

  • Bailey1129
    12/05/2014 - 01:52 p.m.

    I think that a lot of work is put into buying a Christmas tree. I think it is great that they are decorating it with military decorations. I would like to go to the white house one day in the Christmas time.

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