Capitol Christmas Tree 2009 Ornaments

American 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 more than 6,000 ornaments to adorn iconic symbol often called The People’s Tree. Schoolchildren from all corners of Arizona submitted ornaments reflecting the theme: Arizona’s Gift From The Grand Canyon State.


The ornaments collected were as diverse as Arizona. Using natural materials from the Grand Canyon State, from copper to wild gourds found in the White Mountains, the creativity was astounding. Students were asked to craft ornaments that were eco-sensitive and made from recycled materials. They were also challenged to make their ornaments recyclable.


The handcrafted ornaments made for the Capitol Christmas Tree 2009 were required to range from 9 to 12 inches tall. This allowed the ornaments to be viewable on the 85-foot tree from a good distance. Another consideration when designing Capitol Christmas Tree 2009 decorations was for students to craft ornaments that could withstand weeks of harsh winter weather. This included snow, sleet and rain.

An additional 4,000 indoor ornaments were sent to Washington, D.C. to decorate 80 companion trees placed throughout federal buildings in the Capitol Complex. These ornaments were smaller in size, ranging from 3 to 7 inches tall. Since these creations were crafted for indoor use, they were often more refined and delicate. Many of these ornaments were submitted by arts groups, clubs and service organizations. In fact, most ornaments used by offices throughout the Capitol Complex became part of permanent Christmas ornament collections.


More than 10,000 were collected throughout Arizona. They were carefully packaged for the 4,600 journey to the nation’s Capitol. The ornaments were boxed by volunteers as well as Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests staff. The thousands of handcrafted ornaments were placed the cartons and then on to palates for transportation. The ornaments traveled in the caravan to Washington, D.C. and were delivered on November 30, 2009.

One of the most wonderful aspects of the United States Capitol Christmas project is the tradition of a student lighting the tree. Arizona students who submitted an ornament for the Christmas tree were entered in a drawing for a trip to Washington, D.C. to light the Capitol Christmas Tree with the Speaker of the House. Thousands of Arizona school children entered the drawing, which included an all expense paid trip to the festivities for their parents and school teacher.

The Capitol Christmas Tree 2009 student winner was Kaitlyn Ferencik from Surprise, Arizona. A seventh grade student at Canyon Ridge School, Kaitlyn traveled to Washington, D.C. with her parents Erika and Troy Ferencik along with teacher Natalie Moore. During the trip, Kaitlyn was interviewed by media outlets throughout the nation, as well as an international television crew from Poland. Home and Garden Television filmed Kaitlyn for a holiday prime time special which featured the Capitol Christmas Tree.


Kaitlyn met Arizona Congressional delegation members including Senator John McCain and Senator Jon Kyl, as well as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The seventh grader and her family were also able to spend time with Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer.



United States Forest Service