LIBBY, Mont. October 17, 2017 – The month ofOctober hardly seems like the time to talk about Christmas ornaments and tree skirts as Halloween is still some weeks away. However, the planning for the Capitol Christmas Tree project began in earnest in January 2017 and will go on until the Capitol tree and companion trees and accessories are delivered to the Capitol grounds.
Initially, it was estimated that 8,000 tree ornaments and 70 tree skirts would be needed by the October 1 deadline. The Kootenai Forest and partners, individuals, and groups surpassed the 8,000 ornaments goal by collecting well over 11,000 ornaments and seventy-three tree skirts to date. Every community in Lincoln and Sanders County had ornament making opportunities throughout the year, with volunteers collectively making thousands of ornaments.
“A big thank you to the ornament committee for coordinating and promoting ornament making activities throughout the year,” said Kootenai Forest Supervisor Christopher Savage. “A job well done.” This undertaking would have not been possible without the support of hundreds of individuals, groups, school children, and partners from around the State of Montana and Tribal input.
The Capitol Christmas tree, also known as the “People’s Tree,” which could reach 65-85 feet tall, will be displayed on the west lawn of the Capitol building. At least three-thousand ornaments about 9-12 inches long, lightweight, colorful, and weatherproof will be needed for this tree. This Tree should not be confused with the National Christmas Tree, a large evergreen tree located near the White House which is decorated as a live Christmas tree.
The seventy companion trees, which could be between 6-25 feet tall, will go to the various government offices in Washington. The other 4-6 inch-long ornaments will be needed for the smaller trees. Tree skirts will also be provided for the companion trees.
The tree ornaments and tree skirts will be organized and boxed and make their way to the Capitol grounds to adorn the Capitol Christmas tree and 70 companion trees in government offices in Washington, D.C.
The ornaments and tree skirts, which were made primarily by Montana residents, is not only an honor and way to celebrate the holiday season but also provides a national showcase for the Kootenai National Forest, Forest Service, and State of Montana.
The Capitol tree will be cut on Wednesday, November 8 and prepped for the more than 3,000 mile expedition, culminating with an official tree lighting in early December as determined by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The lighting will be broadcast live on national television.