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. 2015 marked the 50th year a member from the National Christmas Tree Association has presented the official White House Christmas Tree.
Learn more about past National Grand Champions and their White House experiences below.
The 2015 Blue Room Christmas Tree was presented on November 27.
Where It All Began
The Bustard family has been selling Real Christmas Trees since 1929 and began growing them in 1960. Today after 86 years, Glenn and Jay are third generation in the business. Together with their mother Virginia, they grow trees on 60 acres of land and sell approximately 7,000 trees per year offering over 10 varieties.
The Bustard family had never competed in the National Christmas Tree Contest before, and had to win their state competition to even be eligible to enter the national contest. In July 2015, they entered a Douglas fir in the National Christmas Tree Contest in Spring Grove, IL and were named one of the Grand Champions earning the privilege to have a tree from their farm displayed in the White House.
2015 Blue Room Tree Selected
On Wednesday, September 30, 2015 White House staff traveled to Bustard’s Christmas Trees in Lehighton, PA to select the Christmas decoration centerpiece for the Blue Room of the White House.
With print and broadcast media following their every move, the tree was handpicked by Angella Reid, White House Usher, along with White House Superintendent of Grounds Dale Haney and Chief Horticulturist Jim Adams with the National Park Service.
A Fraser fir was selected by the White House staff. The tree stands 19 feet tall and about 11 feet wide. "They looked over 4 trees pretty thoroughly," said Jay Bustard. "Like most people, but maybe more so for them, they're very particular about the tree they want. I think they picked a great one."
2015 Blue Room Tree Presentation
The White House’s Blue Room tree was harvested just before Thanksgiving and was transported to Washington, D.C.
On Friday, November 27, 2015 the chosen tree was carried by horse-drawn carriage to the North Portico of the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia as well as “Bo”, the family dog, received the tree from Jay & Glenn Bustard and their family, following a brief tour, reception and photo session inside the White House. The president of the NCTA, Blake Rafeld, as well as Executive Director, Rick Dungey also attended this special occasion.
“A fresh, farm-grown Christmas tree is a great tradition in our country, and we Christmas Tree farmers love this 50 year tradition,” said Blake Rafeld, NCTA president and a Christmas Tree grower from Ashland, OH.
Learn more about past National Grand Champions and their White House experiences:
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, go to www.fifeanddrumpress.com