Recognized for their heights, lights and legacies, we’ve selected the eight most beautiful Christmas trees in America. How many of these seasonal icons have you visited?
The National Christmas Tree, also called the Blue Room tree, arrived at the White House by horse-drawn carriage. Donated annually by the National Christmas Tree Association, this year’s tree is an 18 ½ foot tall, 11 foot wide Douglas Fir from Lehighton, Pennsylvania. First lady Michelle Obama chooses the annual theme for holiday decorations, which this year includes 25 trees that focus on sharing the stories behind American holiday traditions.
Each year since construction workers erected the first Christmas tree in 1931, a towering evergreen has been the centerpiece of holiday celebrations in New York City. For the last 20 years, the manager of Rockefeller Center gardens has selected a Norway spruce that is at least 65 feet tall and 35 feet wide. The Vargoshe family of Shelton, Connecticut, donated the 2013 tree, a 76-foot spruce that had been growing in their lawn since their home was built in the 1960s. It will be decorated with 5 miles of lights and garland from Dec. 4-Jan. 7.
Erected in the rotunda of San Francisco City Hall each holiday season since 2006, the 25-foot tree is covered with more than 12,000 hand-folded origami cranes inscribed with wishes from children, adults, celebrities and leaders from around the world. Sponsored by the Rainbow World Fund, an international humanitarian service agency, wishes on the 2013 tree include Arianna Huffington, President Barack Obama, Courtney Cox, and more. To read their wishes or submit your own, visit http://www.rainbowfund.org/tree
Twice as tall as Rockefeller Center’s iconic tree, Coeur d’Alene Resort is home to America’s tallest living Christmas tree, a 160-foot Grand Fir bedecked with 40,000 LED lights twinkling in time to the music of Jingle Bells. Crowned with a 10-foot star, the tree is the centerpiece of the resort’s Holiday Light Show, which includes more than 250 displays and 1.5 million lights.
Perkasie Borough Christmas Tree
It’s not the tree that puts Perkasie’s holiday celebration on the map. The Philadelphia suburb’s annual celebration is the oldest outdoor community Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the nation. Since 1909, residents have gathered at 7th and Market streets to light a community Christmas tree.
Draped with more than 35,000 blue lights, the zoo’s 85-foot Big Tree is actually quite “green.” Energy-saving LED lights are partially powered by visitors who pedal two bicycles connected to the energy grid. Lights Before Christmas also includes 200-plus illuminated animal images, carolers, ice carving demonstrations, an outdoor ice skating rink and a larger-than-life human-filled snow globe.
For more than 50 years, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument has been illuminated by 52 vertical strands of garland and 4,784 lights that stretch from the 242-foot observation deck to the monument’s base to create the shape of a traditional Christmas tree, a local icon many call the world’s tallest Christmas tree. The 2013 display also features 26 giant toy soldiers and 26 peppermint sticks surrounding the monument, as well as 56,700 twinkle lights in the trees illuminating walkways around the 242-foot light display. To get a unique perspective on the festive light display, hike the 331 steps for free or pay $2 for an elevator ride to the to the observation deck.
Erected in Old School Square, the iconic 100 foot tall tree takes one month to assemble and decorate with 15,000 LED lights. Inside the tree-mendous display, historical vignettes, a miniature Santa’s village, Christmas train displays and animated penguins delight visitors of all ages. Outside the tree, guest can ice skate, listen to music, ride the holiday carousel and enjoy seasonal snacks.