U.S. Capitol gets official Christmas tree
A 73-foot Englemann spruce arrives at the Capitol.
November 26th, 2012
04:27 PM ET

U.S. Capitol gets official Christmas tree

By Paul Courson, CNN

Washington (CNN) - The official Christmas tree of the U.S. Capitol arrived Monday and will be illuminated at a ceremony on December 4.

Dozens of tourists, Capitol Hill staffers and news crews watched the tree's arrival along with Stephen Ayers, the Capitol architect. "My job is to officially accept the Capitol Christmas Tree on behalf of the Congress," he said.

U.S. Capitol crews using a crane hoisted the 73-foot Englemann spruce from a flatbed truck and prepared it for display on the West Lawn.

Once the tree is mounted, U.S. Capitol workers will place ornaments crafted and donated by Coloradans and will string energy-conserving LED-type lights on it.

Read the full story about the Capitol Christmas tree
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christmas • DC

soundoff (249 Responses)
  1. Eddie Fonseca

    Everyone always dreams of a white Christmas we have all heard the song of Babyface a White Christmas while shopping for the good old Christmas tree, as this song is being played on the radio station. Christmas in America is a time where all of us should stop and be grateful with being with our loved ones. Christmas is not just about receiving presents or getting the latest clothes from our grandparents, it's a time to give thanks and share some Christmas joy with our family's across America and the world. Donny Hataway who has the song This Christmas believes that Christmas should not be all about the presents, but in America we should stop for a few minutes and help out people who are less fortune then us and share in the Christmas joy with everyone across America and the world for years to come.

    November 2, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  2. John Kowalczyk

    Good story Paul. Miss talking with you in the field.


    March 22, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  3. Pravda

    I am surprised that the atheists aren't all Ebenezer Scrooge over this. They are trying to kill Christmas and anything related to it everywhere – schools, parks, universities. We love Christmas trees, why don't you leave our pagan beliefs alone you atheist religious freaks! Nuthin but a big lump of coal for you this Christmas!

    November 28, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  4. Tom Paine

    I am amazed at how many of the exact same arguments are replayed on CNN's religion blog comments section no matter what the topic of the essay is. lol.

    November 28, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      God does not exist.

      November 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
      • Tom Paine

        You may be vocal my friend. But you are in a minority of the global population.

        November 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Bob

      Christians are so brainwashed you have to repeat yourself over and over again.

      November 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
      • Tom Paine

        And so they say of atheists.

        November 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Bob

      You couldn't come up with an original thought so you have to copy mine, more proof you're brainwashed moron.

      November 28, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      They don't say that of atheists. I broke from the brainwashing when I was very young and never looked back. No one has ever said that I am an atheist because of any brainwashing.

      November 28, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
      • Tom Paine

        Oh yes they do. But what lends to "brainwashing" on both sides is the parroting of the same arguments back and forth. There is some guy on here with the "name" of "Atheism isn't good for living things" and another that has a "name" of "Prayer Changes Things." This, of course, gets the atheists very angry. But the back and forth between the two is almost word for word. Beyond this though, you could probably list the arguments made in the comments section listing of about twenty or so categories. But people like to say over and over again what they believe (or not believe). CNN, of course, loves it. It generates lots of hits for their website. FYI – I am a fan of the blog, CNN. 🙂

        November 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      in fact, I know I am an atheist DESPITE the brainwashing. My mind is stronger so the brainwashing didn't take.

      November 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm |

      Tom, i have never read one cogent argument on this blog either against religion or for atheism.

      November 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
      • Tom Paine

        Here here! I totally agree.

        November 29, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Agreed, but I haven't read one against atheism or for religion either.

      November 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Freeking waste of tax payers' $$$$. Can't pray away the waste.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      It provides a good teaching opportunity to inform people of the pagan roots of the custom and the absurdity of religion. And there's nothing wrong with them once they are stripped of their religious meaning.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:19 am |
  6. Muhammed Ali

    Where are the atheists evangelists to decry this outrage??? Christmas trees have the word "Christ" in them. We can't have them on government property. Or "Christmas" carolers or happy people of any sort.

    You ever think that Atheists are the new Ebenezer Scrooge?

    November 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • niknak

      Did you ever think you were such a big punk?
      We did.

      Look, us atheists don't care at all about christmas trees. They are pretty and I have many fond memories of decorating them etc.
      What we can't stand, is you fundies trying to attach some religious meaning to it, and then forcing us to go along with it.
      We have an issue with our government having this seperaton of church and state, but then during the month of Dec there is this quasi nod to it, using tax payer money.

      If left to you own devices, and if you fundies were in complete control, you would make it a crime NOT to attend church, and your religion would be mandatory and we would not have a supreme court but a "council of elders" making all laws based on the babble.
      They are doing the same thing over in the middle east with their brand of fundie, and look at how it is working for them.
      We don't want that here.

      November 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Akira

      Muhammed Ali, Absurdity of troll-ism, hind, ignorant.

      November 28, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Pravda

      LOL! Love it, good one Muhammed! Atheists are just scrooges!

      November 28, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  7. kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
    We will slip... But not fall of the ship ...carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith ....above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
    And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
    The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
    Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
    “How many anvils have you had,” said I,
    “To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
    “Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
    “The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
    And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
    For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
    Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
    The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.

    Truth is..exclusive

    November 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • niknak

      Still too long and too boring.
      And you just copied and pasted that from someone else.
      Get some original material and stop being a follower and get up off your knees, you don't have to be a herd animal.

      November 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Akira

      I love cut-n-pastries.
      Maybe the Corner Cafe can add that to their menu.

      November 27, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • saggyroy

      "Still too long and too boring". – like mass on Sunday.

      November 28, 2012 at 6:31 am |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    November 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      November 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "John 3:16" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian. .

      November 28, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.-

      November 28, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  9. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Some history to go along with said tree:

    Jesus like many was in the right place at the right time. There was a lot of economic-driven assistance and "necessary accessories" without which Jesus would have been just another forgotten Jewish radical.

    To wit:

    Paul of Taurus was first of the "necessary accessories". He recognized early on the great wealth of Roman and Greek Gentiles so he wrote his epistles raising Jesus and his embellished life from the dead and the Gentiles "ate it up". His promise of the imminent second coming was shear brilliance in gathering much silver and gold (the prime necessary accessory). The Romans got jealous ending the life of the first necessay accessory.

    Pilate, although not the founder of Christianity, was another "necessary accessory i.e. he could have easily sent Jesus to the salt mines.

    Constantine and his swords finished the "necessary accessory" scenario.

    Conclusion: Said tree should be called The Tree of Necessary Accessories".

    November 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  10. Sam Yaza

    why not just grow a tree and decorate it every year, that why you wont be killing a tree and hurting the environment. heir is no need to subjugate nature for a display of reverence of nature, its oxymoronic.

    November 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • DalcassianKnight

      Seriously???? What you are proposing is common sense, environmentally sound, financially responsible and above all, logical. Now really, when has our government been any of those things?

      November 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Chuckles

      I think you need to check on how fast trees generally grow.......

      November 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      they tried that. The plan failed. It's in the article:

      "The U.S. Capitol's Christmas tree dates to 1964, when then-House Speaker John McCormack helped plant a live evergreen on the West Lawn, calling it "The People's Tree." Unfortunately, the tree failed to thrive, and in the years since, the U.S. Forest Service has provided a cut tree that's at least 65 feet tall."

      November 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      They can come get the one out of my yard that just won't freaking die! Sumbish is about 25" tall!

      November 27, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  11. The Truth

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . ."

    "The official Christmas tree of the U.S. Capitol"

    "Stephen Ayers, the Capitol architect. "My job is to officially accept the Capitol Christmas Tree on behalf of the Congress," he said."

    Am I missing something here? It certainly sound's like congress has passed laws creating an "official" tree for Congress dedicated to a specific religion, that of "Christ"mas...

    Where's the official Hanukkah Menorah or reading of the Kwanzaa Kawaida? When was the "official" congress Zakat for the poor on Eid Al-Fitr after Ramadan? When does congress cook their "official" Pongal to celebrate Uttarayan?

    We must admit that we are neither a country free for all religion nor free from all religion and that American Christians are some of the worlds biggest hypocrites. Please get your disgusting religious celebrations out of my government.

    November 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • DalcassianKnight

      Did I miss something. I don't remember reading anything about a "law" being passed that requires them to have or Not have a Christmas tree. They are simply choosing to recognize the holiday by erecting the Christmas Tree. They simply CHOSE to do this in much the same way they choose NOT to display a menorrah or any other holiday symbol. No law, just choice. Really, must you complain about every little thing. It seems you have to invent something to argue about. It's really annoying.

      November 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      yeah you are missing something Christmas is a pagan holiday

      November 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • DalcassianKnight

      Hypocrites you say? Let's take a poll, shall we?

      How many atheists celebrate Christmas (Exchange gifts, take the day off work, visit family, sit around a big dinner) Wow, that many? Now that's hypocracy.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      Burn the k ing tree to the ground

      November 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • DalcassianKnight

      Wow, hate much?

      November 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Funny, I thought "Celebrating" christmas involved going to church, praying etc... That's very different from say, taking off work which we don't really have a choice because everyone else has and the office is closed, a lot of people may or may not exchange gifts but that is hardly "celebrating" christmas as much as observing the holiday season.

      I will say though, there isn't a law declaring that there is an official christmas tree, or religion or whatever and congress is able to do this, but not without impugnity and should be challenged.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • DalcassianKnight


      You're absolutely right, that is the correct way of celebrating Christmas. The practices I mentioned earlier are just the "secular" ways to celebrate the holiday. As a born-again Christian (used to be atheist), that was how we used to celebrate and still observe those practices. I know that many atheists still observe these traditions. In my opinion (just my humble opinion), atheists have no right to celebrate Christmas. I don't celebrate Ramadan or Khanukkah but I don't deny the Muslim's or Jew's right to do so.

      When atheists celebrate Christmas and yet deny Christ, well it's a little like saying "We'll celebrate St. Patrick's Day but I don't want to see anything Irish. No Shamrocks or Irish Flags. I'll go watch the parade and drink lots of beer but no GREEN beer". It's a little ironic, don't you think?

      November 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Here's the catch 22 though that you are presenting. You've pointed out the secular ways to celebrate, but the country has given people little choice but to follow through with some of these (the whole not working thing comes to mind). And you are using the term a little too loosely, does it count that me, growing up jewish, "celebrates" christmas secular or otherwise by getting chinese food and seeing a movie? It's something I do annually on christmas and usually involves getting together with family, but I'm still well within my rights AND logic to demand that I would rather be spared the gimmicky religious crap that pops up.Your analogy only works if you ignore the religiousity that is christmas while st. patricks day has morphed into a celebration if Irish culture. Celebrating the culture of a specific people has no implication that you should join them (it's kind of impossible to). Unfortunately for you, finding a correct analogy would be attempting to find another religious holiday, that isn't christian, that America celebrates and goes crazy for. The closest you can get is Halloween, but even then we don't give people days off for that nor does the white house have an official costume.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • DalcassianKnight


      Hmm, you make some interesting points. You seem like a very intelligent person and i wish I could actually talk to you in depth about this instead of these blogs. When you think about it, the government really doesn't give us much choice in celebrating any official holiday. I was born in Ireland (live here in the US now) and every year, I am "forced" to take a holiday on July 4th. It's just another day to me, why should I be forced to celebrate that day. What if I said I was offended by the loud fireworks and all the red, white and blue (I'm not offended by any of it, just spitballing). Or if I said I was offended by the Thanksgiving holiday because I'm not American born (again, not offended, just sayin') None of us have any choice to NOT celebrate any of the official holidays. We do however have a choice whether or not we want to observe them and how we observe them.

      Like i said before, I will never deny the Jews, Muslims, Hindus or anybody else their right to celebrate their holidays. But why do atheists consistently try to deny the Christians their rights.

      We democratically elect these government officials, are we saying that once they become pubic servants, they can no longer practice their faith? Besides, the Christmas tree they erected is a symbol of the Christmas holiday, not the Christian faith.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Chuckles


      You are right to point out we don't really have a choice to at least observe that those days are different from other days, but you are using "celebrate" a little too loosely, or rather you are including celebration in the most passive sense (aka not going to work). And you are right, we are allowed the choice on how to observe national holidays, both religious and secular.

      What you are missing however is that atheist (well most atheists) aren't trying to ban christmas, that has never been their intent and any lawsuit, or grousing you see on this blog does not have the goal of abolishing christmas from the American landscape through legislation. When atheists like myself get annoyed about christmas, it's usually when the government is showing preferential treatment, NOT the representatives mind you, they are allowed, like you and me, to celebrate whatever they want, but in a federal capacity, to have an official tree is giving christianity, and certain types of christianity specifically, preferential treatment by recognizing their holiday by erecting a christian symbol on public land. If I had my druthers, the governement would be completely secular and during the holidays, representatives would go home and celebrate their holidays as they deem fit without me having to deal with a manger scene, an official christmas tree, the ten commandments in courtrooms, menorahs or kwanzaa holders inserted in places where they have no lawful reason to be there.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Saraswati

      There is an offical Menorah....they show it every year on TV.

      November 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Muhammed Ali

      Atheists are the 21st century Scrooges

      November 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Akira

      Muhammed Ali:

      November 27, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Knight, you state "I know that many atheists still observe these traditions. In my opinion (just my humble opinion), atheists have no right to celebrate Christmas."

      To make this statement is the same as to claim Christians have no "right" to the pagan trees and wreaths associated with Christmas but stolen from prior religions. It would imply that Easter (didn't even change the name in English!) should not be celebrated, at least not with eggs or bunnies or buns...all stolen. But it would go further, since Christianity is just a modification of Judaism, ideas stolen and modified. The fact is that all of our ideas are derived from prior older ideas that were a part of our ancestors cultures. I would argue we all should have the same rights to the ideas and traditions of our shared histories that we want, because otherwise every belief system and ever set of rituals and celebrations falls like a house of cards.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  12. Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

    Yes we are getting close to celebrating one of the biggest delusions knownto man.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • DalcassianKnight

      And I'm willing to bet that you're one of the billions of people who will also engage in the gift giving/receiving raditions of the holiday. Stop complaining. It seems the non-believers go into a hysterical panic whenever anything that even remotely has to do with Christianity. You know darn well you will be participating in the holiday like everybody else around you. Don't even try to deny it.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      I celebrate Festivus not Christardmas.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      We celebrate Greedy Gift Getting season.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  13. Roger that

    What crime did this tree commit to get the death penalty?

    November 27, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Akira

      Now *that's* funny!

      November 27, 2012 at 10:58 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.