US Capitol Christmas Tree arrives in nation's capital

There was a large delivery made at the U.S. Capitol Monday morning.

The Capitol Christmas Tree completed its 4,000-mile journey to the nation’s capital from Payette National Forest in Idaho. During the cross country trip, the large Englemann spruce made 31 stops with tens of thousands of people seeing it along the way.

“This gem of a tree represents the bountiful and beautiful natural resources found in a diverse Idaho landscape,” said Payette National Forest supervisor Keith Lannom. “This 84-year-old, 80-foot Engelmann spruce came from a little ski hill just outside McCall, Idaho. The little ski hill was established 79 years ago so this tree was just a sapling when people started to ski there.”

More than 6,000 ornaments will be used to decorate the tree and is all handcrafted from communities around Idaho. All of the ornaments are covered in glitter and Lannom said the tree itself will be carrying 20 pounds of glitter.

The annual tradition of placing a Christmas tree at the U.S. Capitol began back in 1964 when then-Speaker of the House John McCormack placed a live tree on the Capitol lawn. Since 1970, a different national forest has been chosen each year to provide “The People’s Tree.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan will lead the annual tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 6 on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.