Christmas trees draw communities and travelers together, says Tim O’Connor, executive director of the National Christmas Tree Association. Towering and elaborately decorated public trees allow visitors to join in local holiday traditions and gatherings. “They really symbolize Christmas so well, and attract tens of thousands of people.” He shares some favorites.
Mayor’s Christmas Tree, Kansas City, Missouri
One of the nation’s largest Christmas trees shines above Kansas City every holiday season. A 100-foot Oregon Douglas fir lords over the city’s Crown Center, which welcomes Christmas with an ice-skating rink, a gingerbread village and holiday train. At the end of each season, wood from the tree is made into ornaments. Proceeds from sales benefit a holiday charity fund for needy city residents. crowncenter.com
Citadel Outlets, Commerce, California
Perhaps it’s no surprise that the home to what has been called the world’s largest live-cut Christmas tree is a Southern California outlet mall. The white fir from California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest stands 110 feet, and is easily visible from freeways. It’s decorated with 18,000 LED lights and 10,000 ornaments. “The thing is huge. It’s gargantuan. I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to put it up,” O’Connor says. citadeloutlets.com
White House Christmas Tree, Washington, D.C.
Just like the president, a tree makes it to the White House by winning votes. This year’s honor goes to a 19.5-foot Fraser fir from Newland, North Carolina. The grower was chosen as the National Christmas Tree Association’s grand champion, and White House staff picked the tree to be displayed in the Blue Room. “It’s like winning the Super Bowl,” O’Connor says. The public can get limited tour tickets through their congressional representative. whitehouse.gov1.info/visit/white-house-christmas-tour.html
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