Department of Defense Education Activity

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American students here and abroad create ornaments for National Christmas Tree display in D.C.

National Park Services
Washington, DC | December 14, 2021

Former Vogelweh ES students Landon and Everett Rue found their old school tree.
Former Vogelweh ES students Landon and Everett Rue found their old school tree.

Students from 58 schools across the nation and abroad have designed one-of-a-kind ornaments for the 2021 National Christmas Tree display on the Ellipse in President’s Park. These unique ornaments will adorn 58 smaller trees surrounding the National Christmas Tree. The trees represent each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia as part of the America Celebrates ornament display. Schools managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education and the Department of Defense Education Activity will also participate in the display for the first time this year.  

The America Celebrates ornament program is an annual collaboration of the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Department of Education and the National Park Foundation (NPF). The U.S. Department of Education worked with states and territories to identify elementary, middle and high schools to participate in the America Celebrates program. The project is funded by the NPF.  

From state flowers to notable landmarks, students created ornaments that celebrate the places they call home. Check out the President’s Park Facebook page for more photos of ornaments.  

The America Celebrates display is one of the highlights of the National Christmas Tree experience. In partnership with NPF, CBS will broadcast the 2021 ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 8:30-9:30 PM, ET/8-9 PM, PT on the CBS Television Network. 

You’re invited to view the National Christmas Tree and the 58 state, district and territory trees and their ornaments up close daily from Dec. 4 through Jan. 1, 2022.  

The National Christmas Tree Lighting has strong ties to education. In 1923, a letter arrived at the White House from the District of Columbia Public Schools proposing that a decorated Christmas tree be placed on the South Lawn of the White House. On Christmas Eve that year, President Calvin Coolidge walked from the Oval Office to the Ellipse and pushed a button that lit the first National Christmas Tree. It was a 48-foot balsam fir donated by Middlebury College in Vermont.  

Since 1973, the National Christmas Tree has been a living tree which can be viewed year-round in President’s Park – one of America’s 423 national parks! Ahead of the holiday season, the NPS planted a new National Christmas Tree. The new tree is a 27-foot white fir (Abies Concolor) from Middleburg, Pa. The new National Christmas Tree will be lit for the first time on Dec. 2 during the 99th National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. 
 


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