After checking out the National Botanic Garden’s holiday festivities, we walked to the White House to visit the National Christmas Tree (Note to anyone planning to walk between the two: it takes a while, so make sure you have time and make sure you’re bundled up if it’s cold outside).
The tree is a bit shorter than last year since a new tree was planted after the old tree’s trunk snapped in a windy storm, but I think I like it shorter.
Every year the tree is decorated for the holidays (there’s a lighting ceremony every year, although I’ve heard it’s pretty tough to get tickets), and a circle of smaller trees surround it. We discovered this year that the smaller trees are each dedicated to one of the US states, territories, and districts, and each is decorated by a different local group or business.
We also discovered this year that if you go early enough in the evening, you can get much closer to the tree and see the model train tracks set up around its base. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any information online about what the cutoff time is for visiting the tree up close as opposed to just seeing it lit from afar as we did last year.
If you’d like to visit the National Christmas tree, the tree will be lit lit from dusk until 11pm every evening until January 1, 2012, and musical performances are held every evening (6-8:30pm on weeknights, 4-8:30pm on weekends), as well. About.com has much more detailed information about visiting than the official website does, so I recommend checking out their information page before you go.