We live a stone’s throw from Washington, D.C. and the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, but I’m wishing I had the airfare to fly to the other side of the country to see the other National Christmas Tree. Donations are now being accepted for two plane tickets to Sanger, California, December 2012. 😉
While First Lady Grace Coolidge sponsored the first National Christmas Tree in 1923, in 1926, President Coolidge dedicated a large Sequoia in the Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park as the Nation’s Christmas Tree. This tree, the General Grant Tree, in the small Grant Grove, continues to stand and is the second largest tree in the world and the only living national shrine to war dead, as declared by President Eisenhower in 1956.
According to the Sanger, California District Chamber of Commerce website, “the first Christmas service at the base of the tree was inspired by R.J. Senior–then President of the Sanger Chamber of Commerce and Charles E. Lee–then Secretary of the Sanger Chamber of Commerce, in 1925. In 1924, R.J. Senior was wandering through the Grant Grove area. He approached a huge tree, stopped, and stared in awe at the enormous tree. As he stood looking at nature’s masterpiece, a small girl approached. After a moment of complete silence she said, mostly to herself, ‘What a lovely Christmas tree that would be.’ She then turned and ran off into the grove. They never learned her name, but they couldn’t forget her words.”
In October 1949, nearby Sanger was dedicated by the Post Office Department as the Nation’s Christmas Tree City. The Chamber of Commerce sponsors the annual “Trek to the Tree,” always held on the second Saturday of December. Members of the Park Service lay a large wreath at the foot of the massive tree.
According to statistics, the massive giant is large enough to produce enough lumber to construct thirty-five, 5 bedroom homes. The tree stands 267 feet high; its lowest branch is 130 feet above the ground, and the circumference of its trunk is 107 feet.
Oh, and if I do get to go to California, who wants to watch the dogs that weekend?