President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden helped to light up the National Christmas Tree as per tradition. The nostalgic custom goes way back to 1923 when the National Christmas Tree was lit up for the first time.
The President at that time was Calvin Coolidge, who lit up the first 48 feet tall Christmas tree in the Ellipse. That tree was embellished with 2500 lights of the hues red, green, and white.
This year’s 27-feet wide tree was bathed in a red-and-white glow as President Biden switched on the strings of lights covering the white fir. Nicknamed “Sugar Bear”, the national Christmas tree is located in the Ellipse, near the White House, and is surrounded by other Christmas trees.
The trees represent different states of the US and are aptly decorated with hand-made ornaments sent by students across the country.
Vice-President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff were also present at the ceremony. Celebrity performances were part of the program, with the hosting being done by the singer-actor LL Cool J. Billy Porter, Chris Stapleton, H.E.R., Kristen Chenoweth, Patti LaBelle, and Harvard University’s Gospel Choir graced the night with remarkable performances.
How Will This Be a Different Christmas?
The year has been difficult for many Americans who lost their loved ones to COVID. Remembering this, the President and First Lady extended their support to the people.
They also acknowledged the services rendered by frontline workers and other paramedic staff. “We are a great nation because of you, the American people,” President Biden said.“You’ve made me so optimistic.”
He spoke of the National Christmas Tree carrying American traditions in its core. The lighting-up ceremony was given a new meaning this year when President Joe Biden referred to it as “a bright beacon of hope that reminds us of the promise we find in scripture of finding light in the darkness which is also a very American thing to do.”
Therefore, the 99th National Christmas Tree Lighting celebration hailed American optimism during the time of the international crisis caused by the pandemic.
What Are the Other White House Festivities?
Every year, the Christmas season is celebrated with joy all over the country. White House is no different, the President and his family enjoy the festivities of this occasion with the people.
Just like the various Christmas traditions being handed down generations, each President follows in the footsteps of his predecessor. Besides the National Christmas Tree lighting, the entire White House is decorated too.
This decoration is the responsibility of the First Lady. She is also the one who decides the theme for the adornment within the White House. The tradition started way back in President Benjamin Harris’s term (1889).
He was the first one to erect a decorated Christmas tree in the White House. During Cleveland’s presidency in 1894, the White House was first embellished with lights. Before this, White House’s occupants had decorated the building with simple ornaments, wreaths, and garlands.
Dr. Jill Biden’s Tribute
The First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden beautifully designed the entire Christmas decorations for this year. This was her first Christmas at the White House, and she enthralled everyone with her thoughtful theme. “Gifts from the Heart” is the official theme for this year, intended as a homage to the frontline paramedic staff.
Rooms have been decorated as a distinct ‘gift’. Take, for instance, the Vermeil Room. It has been decorated with paint buckets, brushes, Pantone color chips and more, to represent the ”gift of visual arts”. Similarly, the Green Room has been decorated with purple flowers to symbolize the “gift of nature”.
Moreover, the customary Gingerbread House was also placed in the State Dining Room. Shaped as a police station, a school, a warehouse, a fire station, and a grocery store, the set of gingerbread buildings showcased America’s brave workers who kept things running in desperate times.
The testing situation of COVID brought all the Americans to close together to reiterate the lessons on unity, responsibility, and compassion for each other.