US Capitol Christmas Tree News

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



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