White House Christmas Tree arrival, presidential turkeys kick off holiday traditions in DC

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — It’s a big day for holiday traditions in the nation’s capital.

The official White House Christmas Tree and this year’s presidential turkeys were being presented in Washington, D.C. on Monday.

The tree was brought to the White House on a horse-drawn carriage and presented to first lady Melania Trump at 12 p.m. EST.

It’s the 55th year that the National Christmas Tree Association has presented an official Christmas tree to the White House. The holiday tradition began in 1966.

Melania Trump said this year’s White House tree is a 18.5-foot Fraser Fir from West Virginia farm Dan and Bryan Trees.

The first lady inspected the Fraser fir, smiled and waved to cameras Monday, as the United States Marine Band played Christmas carols.

The National Christmas Tree Association said that, in normal years, “the selection of the White House Christmas tree is a media event at the NCTA Champion Grower’s farm attended by 100 or more people to observe the White House team select the perfect tree for the Blue Room.”

“But…2020 is far from a normal year — there was no selection event this year.”

On Tuesday, the events will continue as President Donald Trump participates in the annual pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey at a ceremony in the Rose Garden.

The National Turkey Federation presented this year’s presidential turkeys on Monday.

The birds traveled from Walcott, Iowa, where they were raised by turkey producers Ron and Susie Kardel. Ron Kardel currently serves as chairman of the National Turkey Federation.

In keeping with tradition, the turkeys are staying at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., until the pardoning ceremony.

The federation held a news conference Monday to announce the names of this year’s presidential turkeys: Corn and Cob.

(The White House)
(The White House)

The first time that the National Turkey Federation presented a turkey at the White House was in 1947.

According to the industry group, the 73-year tradition dates back to former President Harry Truman. But the White House Historical Association said reports of turkeys as gifts to American presidents can be traced back to the 1870s. The historical association said the official turkey presentation was a sporadic tradition, but it became more formalized under President George H. W. Bush.

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