Apparently, Mother Nature hates Christmas: high winds in the DC area have knocked down the National Christmas Tree. The tree, a 42-foot Colorado blue spruce, has been the official Christmas tree of the White House since it was planted on the Ellipse (President’s Park South) back in 1978.
Each year, the National Christmas Tree is lit by the first family as part of the annual lighting ceremony, which often includes musical performances and celebrity appearances. In the 2010 ceremony (possibly the last the brave tree will ever serve), spectators enjoyed performances by B.B. King, Sara Bareilles, and Maroon 5.
The 2010 ceremony also marked the most energy-efficient lighting of the National Christmas Tree ever, as General Electric provided highly efficient LED lights for the tree. LED strings tend to run using about 90% less electricity than traditional incandescent Christmas lights.
As of now, a call has been made to the National Parks Service to determine what can be done about the tree, but no plan has been put forth yet. The old spruce reportedly snapped at the trunk, so its days of national service may well be over after 30+ years of being America’s Christmas tree.