The People’s Tree


                    Stores all around already have their Christmas gear out, and are ready to kick off

                    Stores all around already have their Christmas gear out, and are ready to kick off the holidays right after Halloween ends. Think it’s too early for cookies and caroling? Think again. The Capitol Christmas tree was cut on November 2, 2012, about 50 days before Christmas. But why so early? The 73 foot Engelmann Spruce will be traveling all over the country, before it reaches the capitol building lawn in Washington D.C. Over three weeks, the tree will stop in 28 different cities, 13 of them in Colorado.


                    Meeker, Colorado had the honor of extracting the tree from White River National Forest. Cranes were there to pull the tree out of the forest like a needle out of a haystack. After being lifted over a cabin, it was very carefully laid on the back of a 100 foot long semi, where it was before the delicate process of wrapping it began.


                    Before the wrapping, the tree was covered in a waxy substance to keep the moisture in, so it won’t become a prune by Christmas. To wrap it, each individual branch was tied to the trunk, and then wrapped in plastic, and put in a plywood box. The tip of the tree was put in plexiglass, so viewers can still see the magnificent tree on its journey. A large banner will travel on the box, where people can sign a warm Christmas greeting. The tree stump is in a boot with water in it. The tree can drink 30 to 40 gallons of water a day!


                     J.T. Stangl and Ken Coffin, forest service agents, explained that the Spruce is 74 years old, and weighs over 9,000 pounds. Seventy companion trees were also harvested in Colorado to go to different federal offices and represent each state. Over 8,000 ornaments were made by students for the Capitol Christmas tree and companion trees.


                    Colorado native Cheryl St. John won the 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree National Art Competition with her stunning painting, “Awaiting Spring”, which will be displayed in the capitol’s art collection.


                     Now that the holidays have begun, I strongly suggest you watch for the Capitol Christmas tree as it goes through Colorado.