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It’s that time of year–trees doused in lights and ornaments are popping up indoors and out, and the Capitol is no exception. Each year, the superintendent of the Capitol grounds chooses a tree from a selection suggested by the U.S. Forest Service. This year’s tree comes from the White River National Forest near Meeker, CO; this year will be the third time the Capitol’s tree has come from Colorado.

The 2012 tree arrives at the Capitol. (Architect of the Capitol)

The 2012 tree arrives at the Capitol. (Architect of the Capitol)

After the tree is harvested, it takes a celebratory journey to Washington, accompanied by additional smaller trees intended for Capitol offices and thousands of ornaments made by children in the state that is providing the tree. One of those children is chosen to come to Washington and help the Speaker of the House officially light the tree. This year, Speaker John Boehner and 17-year-old Ryan Schuster of Colorado Springs will flip the switch at 5 pm on Tuesday, December 4. The ceremony is open to the public, so if you’re in DC, consider going over to the Capitol’s west front to see the tree blaze forth in all its glory next week. It will be lit from dusk until 11 pm through December 26.

The 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree (Architect of the Capitol)

The 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree (Architect of the Capitol)

There’s lots more information on the Capitol tree available online. We published a post last year with more on the history of Christmas trees and the Capitol tree itself. The Architect of the Capitol lists the birthplaces of all the Capitol trees since 1964, and also blogged about the tree’s history last year. The tree’s official site has more on this year’s tree and decorations plus links to Facebook and Twitter–and fun videos–and the Architect of the Capitol put some pictures of the tree’s arrival on Flickr. (Check back there after the 4th for more pictures.) C-SPAN will probably broadcast the tree lighting live; check the tree’s official page for details.

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