About the White House Christmas Tree
Since 1966, members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented the official White House Christmas Tree for display in the Blue Room. Each year, NCTA hosts a national tree contest, at which growers, industry experts and consumers vote to select the Real Christmas Tree grower who will provide the official White House Christmas Tree. To qualify for the national contest, growers must first win their state or regional competitions, so being named National Grand Champion is quite an achievement.
Learn more about past National Grand Champions and their White House experiences below.
2012: Blue Room Christmas Tree Presented
Chesterfield, MO (November 23, 2012) -- Like many other households on this day after Thanksgiving, the White House started Christmas decorating with a fresh Christmas Tree grown by an American farm family. A beautiful 19-foot-tall Fraser fir Christmas Tree was presented by growers Rusty and son Beau Estes, co-owners of Peak Farms. The tree will be the official White House Christmas Tree and displayed in the Blue Room, serving as the centerpiece of the White House decorations.
The Blue Room Christmas Tree was presented to First Lady Michelle Obama by Rusty and Beau and their families. They earned the honor of providing the White House Christmas Tree by winning the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) National Christmas Tree Contest in August in Sacremento, Calif. and becoming Grand Champion.
The Blue Room Christmas Tree was handpicked by White House Superintendent of Grounds Dale Haney and Chief Horticulturist Jim Adams with the National Park Service on Oct. 3, 2012. The tree got a “thumbs up” – literally – from the First Lady during the presentation ceremony that included a horse-drawn wagon carrying the tree up to the North Portico.
"I got goosebumps watching them lift the tree in place, knowing we planted it and grew it on our farm," said Rusty Estes. "It's always a special feeling watching a tree you grew go into a house - especially this house."
Rusty Estes first planted Christmas Trees in 1979 on a very small plot of land as a hobby and sold those trees on a small retail lot, while working as a golf course manager in the non-winter months. By 1993 he moved his family to Ashe County in North Carolina, bought a larger farm and moved into growing Christmas Trees full time as a family farm business. Today Peak Farms grows about 300,000 trees total.
"I hope they are as happy with this tree as I am to provide it," said Beau Estes.
To enter NCTA's National Tree Contest and compete for a chance to provide the White House Christmas Tree, farmers must first win their state/regional competitions in the previous 12 months. "The whole tree industry benefits from this opportunity, no matter what kind of trees you grow on your farm," said Cline Church, current President of NCTA, who was also in attendance. "I wish the whole country could see that the entire White House is decorated with Real Christmas Trees and greenery, grown by American farmers."
Members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented the official White House Christmas Tree for display in the Blue Room since 1966. Click here for more photos from the 2012 White House Tree Presentation.
Want to learn more about White House Christmas traditions? We're happy to recommend Christmas at the White House
, which includes a section about the Official Blue Room Christmas Tree from NCTA Grand Champions. For more information or to order a copy, visit http://www.fifeanddrumpress.com