Capitol Christmas Tree 2009

December 15, 2009 4:52 pm

Arizona’s Gift From The Grand Canyon State

Arizona’s Gift from the Grand Canyon State continues to give. Although the holidays are over, the Capitol Christmas Tree 2009 is still producing a tremendous and positive impact. From extensive media coverage throughout the United States to international news outlets, the iconic Christmas tree harvested in Arizona made news. The Capitol Christmas Tree 2009 gained extensive exposure through national news organizations including NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, FOX and C-SPAN. Daily newspapers throughout North America covered tree events and the lighting ceremony. Home and Garden Television featured the tree from Arizona in a prime time holiday special and we even garnered global coverage in China, Taiwan, Europe, Russia and Mexico. MediaWatch, tracked media attention for the year-long project and has documented print and broadcast value exceeding $2.1 million. Editorial features continue to be published about Arizona’s Gift which will push this dollar amount even higher.

The Capitol Christmas Tree 2009 was not only the first time Arizona has participated in providing the tree for the United States Capitol, it was a statewide celebration. In 10 days, the tree visited 28 Arizona communities. Thousands of our citizens came out to greet the tree, welcoming the caravan with parades, choirs, proclamations and yes, lots of Christmas cookies. The tour continued on its journey to Washington, D.C. where it was lit in a national ceremony hosted by the Speaker of the House and Arizona’s Congressional Delegation.

This project was also innovative, with a series of “firsts” that included the use of social networking. We also were the first Capitol Christmas Tree project to use bio-diesel fuel, communicate daily activities with a blog, as well as a photo gallery which posted images of each tour stop.

Without the support of our partners, generous donations and volunteers, the Capitol Christmas Tree 2009 project would not have been as successful. We are grateful for your participation in this historic event and wish you the best for the new year.


Capitol Christmas Tree 2009 By The Numbers

December 13, 2009 1:41 pm

SPECIES: Blue spruce (Picea pungens)

HEIGHT: 85-feet at harvest, 65-feet delivered

AGE: 70 years old

WEIGHT: approximately 9,000 lbs at harvest



HARVESTED FROM: Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Alpine District

HONORARY NAME: Aldo Leopold Centennial Tree

DISTANCE TRAVELED: 4,600+ miles from Arizona to Washington, D.C.

COMPANION TREES: 80 additional trees displayed throughout Capitol Complex offices

COMPANION TREE ORNAMENTS: 4,000 handcrafted ornaments from groups throughout Arizona

CAPITOL CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENTS: 6,000 handcrafted ornaments from Arizona school children

TOUR STOPS: 28 stops in Arizona with community events in 10 days

SOCIAL MEDIA: First Capitol Christmas Tree project to use social media: Twitter and Facebook

GREEN INITIATIVE: First Capitol Christmas Tree project to use bio-fuel and a hybrid vehicle

MEDIA ATTENTION: Nielsen audience of 42 million people viewed tree coverage

MEDIA VALUE: $2.1 million in estimated media value

TV TIME: 14 hours, 28 minutes

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ATTENTION: Europe, China, Taiwan, Russia, Poland and Mexico


Arizona Student Drawn To Light Capitol
Christmas Tree 2009

December 3, 2009 2:15 pm

Kaitlyn-Fornecik-2American families across the nation hold fond memories of decorating their own trees over the years.  The Capitol Christmas Tree 2009 is no different.  Schoolchildren throughout Arizona made nearly 6,000 ornaments to be placed on the iconic symbol often called “The People’s Tree.”  Another 4,000 handcrafted ornaments were made to accompany the 80 companion trees places throughout the United States Capitol Complex.  Students were encouraged to craft their ornaments from recycled materials and to consider the environmental impact of their finished designs.

Kaitlyn-Fornecik-1It is tradition that one child from the tree’s state light the Capitol Christmas Tree with the Speaker of the House.  Students who submitted ornaments for the outside tree were invited to submit a drawing form along with their ornament.  The Capitol Christmas Tree 2009 student winner is Kaitlyn Ferencik from Surprise, Arizona.  A seventh grade student at Canyon Ridge School, Kaitlyn will travel to Washington, D.C. with her parents Erika and Troy Ferencik and her teacher Natalie Moore.


Track the Capitol Christmas Tree

November 9, 2009 6:10 am

cct.button2009Track the journey of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree 2009 from its origin in the White Mountains of Arizona to Washington, D.C.  On November 30, 2009 the 85-foot Blue spruce was presented to the United States Congress.   The first time Arizona has ever given the annual Christmas tree to the U.S. Capitol, this historic project delivered a majestic tree from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests along with nearly 10,000 handmade ornaments and 80 companion trees for placement throughout offices in the Capitol Complex.

Click here to find out where the tree is now.



United States Forest Service