US Capitol Christmas Tree

Sweet Home Ready to Celebrate U.S. Capital Christmas Tree

Sunday, November 04, 2018

 

From Polk County Itemizer-ObserverEach year a different national forest in the United States is selected to provide a tree to appear on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the Christmas season.

This year, for the first time, the tree was chosen from the Willamette National Forest. It's only the second to come from Oregon.

On Nov. 2, the tree was cut and prepared for the more than 3,000-mile journey to Washington, D.C., where it will be lit in an official ceremony, which will occur in early December as determined by the Speaker of the House.

The Sweet Home U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Celebration will take place starting at noon on Nov. 9 at Sweet Home High School, 1651 Long St. Live music, provided by Oregon-based musicians will begin at noon and continue through 5 p.m.

Cathy Cheshire, Markus Thedford, Praise in 3D, and R & R Country Rock Band will perform, and there will be Christmas Star! Karaoke.

Sign-ups for Karaoke will be before 3 p.m.

More than 40 art and craft vendors, some with souvenir items, will be located in the Sweet Home High School cafeteria.

Food & drinks will be available.

A lighted night-time parade will begin at 6 p.m. on Main and Long Streets.

The US Capitol Tree will be the final parade participant. Attendees will have the chance to sign the banner on the sides of the truck to wish the tree well, before it begins its journey to Washington D.C. The Sweet Home Celebration event will finish up with a performance by Cloverdayle at 8 p.m. in the Sweet Home High School Gymnasium.

Event parking with shuttle service to and from the parade and celebration will be available at designated locations around Sweet Home. Watch for reader board signs to direct.

After the celebration event in Sweet Home, the tree will be trucked to the Veterans Parade on Nov. 10 in Albany.

It will then make stops at Cabela's in Springfield, the McKenzie River Ranger Station, Oakridge, Bend, Detroit, the state capitol and Oregon City before heading east on Nov. 14, on its trip across the nation.

The cross-country trek from Sweet Home to Washington will include stops at more than 25 communities across the nation as it follows the reverse path of the Oregon Trail, in recognition of the 175th anniversary of the establishment of the route.

For more information, contact the Sweet Home Chamber of Commerce 541-367-6186.

 

Oregon noble fir cut down for US Capitol Christmas tree

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Reposted from KGW 8 — Jonah Gladney has cut down his share of trees, but seldom such a healthy specimen and never in front of an audience.

Most of the trees the fire crew supervisor from Stayton encounters are snags and headed for a burn pile, not the West Lawn of the United States Capitol.

Gladney took time out from leading a crew of wildland firefighters on prescribed burn duty in the Detroit and Sweet Home areas to help harvest the 82-foot-tall noble fir on Friday that will decorate the nation's Capitol during the holidays.

The tree was supported with two slings from a crane as it was cut, to prevent it from falling and its branches from breaking.

It's the first time in the 47-year history of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Program that a noble has been selected and the second time Oregon has supplied the tree. A 70-foot Douglas fir from Umpqua National Forest was chosen in 2002.

During Friday morning's cutting ceremony, 50 lucky Oregonians were able to attend in person, with hard hats on their heads and smartphones in their hands.

The soggy conditions didn't dampen their spirits as they cheered the moment the tree cracked and swayed free. Dozens of others waited at River Bend County Park for the replay to be shown later on a giant screen.

The Statesman Journal drone team captured live footage from above. Members from 10 media outlets did the same from the ground.

Never has so much attention been paid to a tree being felled in Oregon, which has a proud history of logging.

Gladney, with his wife and two young children among the crowd, called it his "30 seconds of glory."

With all eyes on him and the tree, he said he felt the pressure "a little bit at first, but then the saw started and it all came naturally."

Vernon Esplin, the owner of Buena Vista Arbor Care and experienced at crane tree removal, set the stage for Gladney. He climbed to the top to set the rigging and secure the noble. While there, he dropped a line for a measurement.

The noble was 2 feet taller than officials originally thought and was 28 inches diameter at breast height. Esplin said the cutting team estimated the tree to weigh 14,000 to 16,000 pounds.

Tracy Beck, forest supervisor with Willamette National Forest, counted 26 rings on one of the souvenir rounds taken 8 feet up the tree and estimated the noble to be about 35 years old.

The number of spectators, shuttled to the site in rented vans, was limited by the size of the area surrounding the tree and the need to accommodate a crane and supporting equipment provided by Papé and Axis Crane.

Officials from the Willamette National Forest had planned for and anticipated this moment for more than a year. A shadow team observed and pitched in last year when the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was harvested in Montana.

Joanie Schmidgall, a member of that team, said Oregon was able to plan a bigger cutting ceremony, in part because the 79-foot Engelmann spruce from Montana was felled in a more remote area.

The perfect tree from Oregon was chosen in August from a handful of finalists by the visiting Architect of the Capitol. Oregon foresters, recreation specialists and a botanist presented a list of candidates.

The location was kept secret until Friday. It took about 50-minute drive to get to the site, including the last 8 miles on a gravel Forest Service road beyond House Rock Campground at an elevation of 3,500 feet.

Once cut, the tree was lifted by a crane and loaded onto a flatbed truck which got stuck in the mud on a bend in the road on its way out of the forest.

Heavy equipment will be used Saturday to free to the truck and trailer which will then head for a warehouse in Sweet Home, a small logging town. Panels, including some see-through, will be added to the flatbed and the tree's branches gently tucked inside for the 3,000-mile journey to Washington, D.C.

A celebration will be held Friday, Nov. 9 in Sweet Home before the tree begins following a reverse path of the Oregon Trail.

A series of events will be hosted in communities along the way. Eleven of the 24 stops are in Oregon, including 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the State Capitol in Salem.


Oregon also is providing 70 smaller companion trees to decorate government buildings and other public spaces, plus decorations for all. Oregonians have made 10,000 homemade ornaments, 3,500 for the big tree and 6,500 for the smaller trees.

clynn@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6710, or follow on Twitter @CapiLynn and Facebook @CapiLynnSJ.


2018 Capitol Christmas Tree Dates Announced

Friday, November 02, 2018

The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) selects the annual U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in consultation with the United States Forest Service.

This year's tree, sponsored by the Oregon Congressional Delegation led by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, was chosen from the Willamette National Forest. The tree will be harvested on November 2, 2018, and will travel cross-country to Washington, D.C. by truck.

The Capitol Christmas Tree will make stops in communities along the route to the nation's capital and arrive at the U.S. Capitol on Monday, November 26, 2018, at 10 a.m. The AOC's Capitol Grounds and Arboretum team will secure the tree and decorate it with thousands of handcrafted ornaments from the people of Oregon.

The tree will be lit by the Speaker of the House, Paul D. Ryan, on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, during a ceremony on the West Front Lawn beginning at 5 p.m.

The annual lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is a time-honored tradition of more than 50 years. The tree will be lit from nightfall until 11 p.m. each evening through January 1, 2019.

Learn more about the tree selection process on AOC's blog.

From the Architect of the Capitol


Timber! Willamette National Forest to Host Public Tree Cutting Celebration for the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Monday, October 22, 2018

The 2018 United States Capitol Christmas Tree will be harvested from the Willamette National Forest on November 2, 2018. The Sweet Home Ranger District is hosting two public events so Oregonians can both see and celebrate this important moment in the yearlong U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree campaign.

Come join us to celebrate the cutting of the tree! Starting today, 50 lucky people who register here will be able to attend the tree cutting event. The number of public attendees is limited by the size of the area surrounding the tree, plus the need to accommodate tree-lifting cranes and a large truck. The event will include brief remarks by the Forest Service employees, local officials, and partners. Attendees will meet at River Bend County Park in Foster, Ore., at 9:00 a.m. and will be shuttled to the site, which is approximately one hour away on rural forest roads. The tree cutting will take place between 11:15 a.m. and noon. The tree will be cut with a saw donated by Husqvarna, and the tree-lifting crane and supporting equipment provided by The Papé Group and Axis Crane. Attendees will be shuttled back and should return to River Bend County Park by 1:30 p.m. While there will be tents and bathroom facilities, attendees will be outside the entire time and should be prepared for inclement weather, including rain or snow. For full event details, participant requirements and online registration, visit https://capitolchristmastree2018.eventbrite.com.

A second celebratory event will be held at River Bend County Park mid-afternoon, beginning at 1:30 p.m. A video of the tree cutting will be broadcast on a giant screen and light refreshments will be provided. This event is open to the public and registration is not required. There is no limit to the number of people who may attend. In attendance will be the “tree team” comprised of Forest Service officials, partners, and sponsors.

 

“We are thrilled to be able to share this exciting part of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree’ s journey with our fellow Oregonians. The people of Oregon have been instrumental to the success of this project. From the kindness of our cooperators to everyone who helped make ornaments and tree skirts, Oregonians have come together to send this beautiful Noble Fir and over 10,000 ornaments as a gift from the state of Oregon to the U.S. Capitol and all Americans,” said Nikki Swanson, U.S. Forest Service Sweet Home District Ranger.

After the tree is cut, it will come to Sweet Home where it will be prepared for the long journey east on a Kenworth W990 truck hauled by Central Oregon Truck Company with support from The Papé Group. The next step in the tree’s journey will begin on Friday, November 9, when it departs from Sweet Home, Ore. and begins its 3,000-mile road trip through Oregon and across the country to Washington, D.C. The theme for the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is “Find Your Trail!” in recognition of two 2018 anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act and the 175th commemoration of the Oregon Trail.

Accordingly, the tree will depart Oregon following the reverse path along the Oregon Trail with stops in Albany, Springfield, McKenzie Bridge, Oakridge, Bend, Detroit, Salem, Oregon City, The Dalles, and Baker City. A series of festive events will be hosted by communities along the way and attendees can sign banners on the sides of the truck, learn more about the Forest Service, purchase U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree merchandise and more. A complete schedule and list of special events is available at www.capitolchristmastree.com.

The trip to Washington, D.C. is made possible thanks to large and small companies and volunteers locally and across America who provide support of time and resources, including The Papé Group, KGW8, Kenworth Truck Company, Central Oregon Truck Company, SkyBitz, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Hale Trailer, VanDoIt Adventure Vans, Alaska Airlines, Husqvarna, Meritor, Pilot Flying J, Truckload Carriers Association, Willamette Valley Visitors Association, Axis Crane, Eaton, Great West Casualty Company, the National Forest Foundation and the City of Sweet Home.

The U.S. Forest Service has provided the Capitol Christmas Tree every year since 1970. In January 2018, the U.S. Forest Service announced that the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree would come from Oregon’s Willamette National Forest. The 80-foot noble fir tree was selected by a representative of the Architect of the Capitol in August. This will be the first time in the program’s 47-year history that a noble fir has been a U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

The tree will be displayed on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., with a public tree- lighting ceremony in early December 2018. The last time Oregon was chosen to provide the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was in 2002, when a tree was selected from the Umpqua National Forest.

 

Seventy smaller companion trees will also be sent to Washington, D.C. from the Willamette National Forest to decorate government buildings and public spaces this December. Additionally, Oregonians will contribute 10,000 handmade ornaments.

Hillsboro Fourth Grader is Chosen to Light U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Monday, October 15, 2018

 

Sweet Home, Ore., October 15, 2018 – This December, Brigette Harrington, a fourth grader at Jackson Elementary School in Hillsboro, Ore., will be flying to Washington, D.C., to join the U.S. Speaker of the House in lighting the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree during the official ceremony.

Each year, a different national forest is chosen to provide “The People’s Tree” for the holiday season, and this year, Oregon’s Willamette National Forest was selected for the honor. A gift to the people of the United States, it will be displayed on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., in December 2018. The tree-lighting ceremony date is still to be determined by the U.S. House of Representatives.

In celebration of Oregon providing the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, Gov. Kate Brown invited all Oregon fourth graders to write an essay on what they love about Oregon’s outdoors – a topic that matched the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree theme, “Find Your Trail!” More than 1,200 students participated in the essay contest, and the governor selected Brigette’s essay which uses the form of “The Night Before Christmas” to poetically describe Oregon’s four seasons. (Read the submittal here.)

"It was exciting to have so many young Oregonians submit essays about our beautiful state. Oregon has a strong tradition of exploring our outdoor spaces and I'm excited to see this continue in the next generation of Oregon explorers," said Governor Brown. "I particularly loved Brigette's reflections on Oregon's four seasons, and I am thrilled that she will be representing all Oregonians at the U.S. Capitol."

Brigette and one adult guardian will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to take part in the tree-lighting ceremony alongside members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the public. She will also be invited to attend festivities around the tree lighting that take place throughout the Capitol.

“I’m feeling pretty amazed and excited. It’s such an honor, and I’m excited to light the tree!” said Brigette.

All Oregon fourth graders are eligible to receive a free annual pass to hundreds of parks, lands and waters across the United States for an entire year through the Every Kid in a Park program. They are also eligible for a free permit to cut their own Christmas tree from an Oregon National Forest.

On the Road to Washington, D.C.
This November, Oregonians of all ages can virtually follow the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree as it travels along the Oregon Trail, plus see the tree in person at fun community events in Sweet Home, Albany, Springfield, McKenzie Bridge, Oakridge, Bend, Detroit, Salem, Oregon City, The Dalles and Baker City. Information about the tree, travel route, schedule and special events is available at www.capitolchristmastree.com.

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Announcing the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Sweet Home, Ore. – October 2, 2018 – Every year a different National Forest is selected to provide a tree to appear on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the Christmas season. This year, the Willamette National Forest, in partnership with nonprofit agency Choose Outdoors and Travel Oregon, will bring this special gift from Oregon to Washington, D.C. for the 2018 holiday, by way of cross-country tour involving more than 25 communities along the way. The 2018 tour announcement is appropriately timed to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act, one of the inspirations for the 2018 theme of “Find Your Trail”. 

On Friday, Nov. 2, the tree will be cut and prepared for the more than 3,000-mile journey that commemorates the second inspiration – 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail – by following a reverse path of the trail. A series of festive events will be hosted by local communities at museums, main streets, city halls, state capitols, markets, retailers, high schools, and even a parade. Attendees will have the chance to sign banners on the sides of the truck to wish the tree well, learn more about the Willamette National Forest and the great state of Oregon, purchase U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree merchandise and more.

Host communities include:

  • Friday, Nov. 9: Sweet Home High School, 1641 Long St, Sweet Home, OR 97386 (12:00 p.m. Street Fair, 6:00 p.m. Parade and 7:30 p.m. Program)
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: Linn County Circuit Court, 300 SW Fourth Avenue, Albany, OR 97321 (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: Cabela’s, 2800 Gateway Street, Springfield, OR 97477 (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: McKenzie River Ranger Station, 57600 McKenzie Highway 126, McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413 (10:30 – 11:30 a.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: 48257 E. 1st , Oakridge, OR 97463 (2:30 – 4:30 p.m.)
  • Monday, Nov. 12: 450 SW Powerhouse Dr., Ste 422, Bend, OR 97702 (11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.)
  • Monday, Nov. 12: 160 Detroit Ave, Detroit, OR 97342 (5:00 – 7:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 13: Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court St NE, Salem, OR 97301(10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 13: Oregon City, OR
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: The Dalles City Hall, 313 Court Street, The Dalles, Oregon 97058 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: Baker City, OR
  • Friday, Nov. 16: City Hall, 911 North 7th Avenue, Pocatello, ID 83201 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Saturday, Nov. 17: Ft. Bridger State Historic Site, 37001 Isthmus Loop I-80 Fort Bridger, WY 82933 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: 975 Snowy Range Road, Laramie, WY 82070 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: Scottsbluff, NE including parade route from 23rd St. to 17th Street on Broadway and ceremony on the 1700 block of Broadway (6:00-7:00 p.m.)
  • Monday, Nov. 19: Otoe County Courthouse, 110 South 11th, Nebraska City, NE 68410 (6:00 – 7:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 20: Perry High School, 404 Lecompton Rd, Perry, KS 66073 (12:00 – 1:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 20: MHC Kenworth, 1524 N. Corrington, Kansas City, MO 64120 (4:00 – 5:00 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 21: Independence Uptown Market, 201 W. Truman Rd, Independence, MO 64050 (9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Thursday, Nov. 22: 2018 Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade, 7th Street and Market Street, St. Louis, MO (8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
  • Friday, Nov. 23: The Harrison Pavilion, 101 Harrison Avenue, Harrison, OH 45030 (2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 25: Andrews Air Force Base, 1500 Perimeter Rd. Joint Base Andrews, MD (11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
  • *The locations of stops are subject to change. All times are approximate and do not account for unforeseen weather and traffic delays. Monitor website at capitolchristmastree.com/tour for the latest updates.

The official tree lighting will occur in early December as determined by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the first tree selected from the Willamette National Forest and the second tree to come from Oregon.

The trip to Washington, D.C. is made possible thanks to large and small companies and volunteers locally and across America who provide support of time and resources, including Pape Kenworth, KGW8, Kenworth Truck Company, Central Oregon Truck Company, SkyBitz, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Hale Trailer, VanDOit Adventure Vans, Alaska Airlines, Husqvarna, Meritor, Pilot Flying J, Truckload Carriers Association, Willamette Valley Visitors Association, Axis Crane, Eaton, Great West Casualty Company, the National Forest Foundation and the City of Sweet Home.

For tour information, event details, news and updates, and to track the tree cross-country, visit www.capitolchristmastree.com or www.fs.usda.gov/willamette.

Free Outdoor Recreation Passes Available for Fourth Graders and their Families

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

 

It’s back to school time! And with the start of the new school year, it’s also time for all fourth graders and their families to claim their free Every Kid in a Park pass which allows free entry into all federal parks, forests, and recreation areas for a full year.


Starting September 1st, fourth graders can print out a paper voucher for free entry into all federal lands by visiting the Every Kid in a Park website at www.everykidinapark.gov. Students and their families can also redeem their paper voucher for a plastic pass at any Forest Service office. For office locations, visit www.fs.usda.gov/r6/. The voucher and passes are valid for the entire school year, September 1, 2018-August 31, 2019.

The Forest Service is partnering with schools and educators across Oregon and Washington to plan Every Kid in a Park events in local communities and distribute passes at back-to-school events this fall. For more information on upcoming Every Kid in a Park events, contact your local forest.

Teachers or adults who engage fourth-graders through a youth-serving organization can print paper passes, and find activities and lesson plans, at www.everykidinapark.gov/get-your-pass/educator.

Today, more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas, and many lack easy access to safe outdoor spaces. At the same time, kids are spending more hours than ever in front of screens instead of outside. The Every Kid in a Park initiative encourages valuable opportunities to explore, learn, and play in the spectacular places that belong to us all and aims to inspire future generations to serve as stewards of these places. Research shows that children ages 9-11 are at a unique developmental stage in their learning where they begin to understand how the world around them works in more concrete ways. By targeting fourth graders, the program works to ensure every child in the U.S. has the opportunity to visit and enjoy their public lands by the time he or she is 11 years old. For more information, visit www.everykidinapark.gov

 

Governor Brown Launches 4th Grade Essay Contest: Win the chance to light the tree in D.C.!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

 

Calling all fourth grade students: “Why do you love spending time outdoors?”

One lucky, young Oregonian will have the opportunity to fly to Washington, D.C. and join the Speaker of the House in lighting the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree during the official ceremony. To coincide with the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree theme, “Find Your Trail!”, we’re launching an essay contest asking 4th grade students to write letters about what they love about Oregon’s outdoors. Governor Kate Brown will select one letter from statewide submissions to receive a once-in-a-lifetime all-expenses paid trip for the winner and one guardian to travel to Washington, D.C. to take part in the tree-lighting ceremony alongside members of the House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and the public in attendance, and also attend festivities surrounding the tree lighting taking place throughout the capitol.

Applications and essay submissions are due by Friday, September 28, 2018. The winner will be announced October 12, 2018, with travel to Washington, D.C. the first week of December. Essays submissions should be formatted with 12 point font, 1 inch margins and double spacing. Letters should be no longer than 500 words and will be evaluated on the following criteria: relevant content, clear focus, and originality.

The online application is available on the Governor's website, located here.

KEY DATES:
Last day for submission- September 28, 2018
Winner announced- October 12, 2018


 

Instruction Guide now available for 3rd and 4th Grade Classrooms

Thursday, September 06, 2018

With September upon us, school is back in session and the U.S. Capitol Christmas offers a great learning opportunity for students. In partnership with the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, we are pleased to offer the U.S. Capitol Tree Instruction Guide. The guide is designed to help third and fourth-grade teachers use this initiative as a context for investigating why Oregon is such a great place for growing trees. Through graphs and other data, students will examine where Oregon Christmas trees come from and where they go, and explore the importance of trees and forests to our state and beyond.

While the guide uses Oregon forests as inspiration, the content is relevant to any fourth-grade classroom wherever you may be! If you are third or fourth grade teacher or have a student in these grades, consider putting the tools in the guide to use in your classroom this fall, and then follow along with the tree's journey as it travels the Oregon Trail in reverse and out to Washington D.C. in November.

Download the Instruction Guide (PDF) here or request a hard copy of the guide by visiting LearnForests.org.

Happy learning!

 

Find an ornament while finding a trail this weekend

Friday, August 31, 2018

 

Two hundred glass ornaments were hidden along non-wilderness trails on the Willamette National Forest for lucky adventurers to find in contest hosted by the Willamette Valley Visitors Association this summer. In addition to a keepsake ornament, over 120 lucky winners have been awarded prizes, and all who register their ornament will be entered into the grand prize: a three night, four day paid trip for two to Washington D.C. in December 2018 to see the lighting of the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

 

There are still 82 ornaments in the forest and Labor Day Weekend is a great time to hit the trail! We're giving you some extra hints to help get you closer to finding the remaining treasures.

*Edited: maps will be updated weekly between now and the end of the contest on Oct. 2. Download this PDF with maps indicating areas to focus on in the forest. 


The contest ends on October 2, the anniversary of the National Trails System Act. Be sure to share your adventures using the hashtags: #FindYourTrail, #FindYourOrnament, #USCapitolChristmasTree and #ItsAllYours.