The White House Christmas Tree

About the White House Christmas Tree

Since 1966, members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented the official White House Christmas Tree for display in the Blue Room. Each year, NCTA hosts a national tree contest, at which growers, industry experts and consumers vote to select the Real Christmas Tree grower who will provide the official White House Christmas Tree. To qualify for the national contest, growers must first win their state or regional competitions, so being named National Grand Champion is quite an achievement. 2016 marked the 51st year a member from the National Christmas Tree Association has presented the official White House Christmas Tree.

White House Receives 2016 Christmas Tree from NCTA - November 25, 2016

The White House tradition of beautiful and 
stunning holiday decorations will soon be on display for the 2016 holiday season. The centerpiece of that tradition, the annual White House Blue Room Christmas Tree, was delivered to the White House today via horse-drawn wagon and presented by Dave and Mary Vander Velden, owners of Whispering Pines Tree Farm in Octonto, Wisconsin.

The tree, a 19 foot Douglas Fir grown in Pennsylvania, was presented to First Lady Michelle Obama by the Vander Veldens, who are the 2016 National Christmas Tree Association Grand Champion winners of the national tree contest. The NCTA has presented the White House with the Annual White House Christmas Tree since 1966. The Grand Champion grower wins the privilege of presenting a tree to the White House.

"It’s a very big honor. In order to present a tree (to the White House), you have to win the national championship. It’s like winning the Super Bowl or a gold medal at the Olympics. It doesn’t get better than that,” Dave Vander Velden said.

A tree from Whispering Pines Tree Farm was handpicked by Angella Reid, White House Chief Usher, along with White House Superintendent of Grounds Dale Haney, Olivia O'Neil with the White House Visitors Office and Jim Adams with the National Park Service. This 19 foot Balsam fir will be displayed in the Garden Room.

The Vander Veldens began growing Christmas trees in 1984, first in Door County, Wisconsin, for about four years before moving to their present location in Oconto, where they operate Whispering Pines Tree Farm. The Vander Veldens entered the National Christmas Tree Contest four times before winning in 2015.

“Dave has participated in this contest for several years and has done really well and he finally came out on top,” said Tom Dull, President of the National Christmas Tree Association. “He was extremely excited for that to happen and I was excited for him as a first-time winner to be able to present the tree to the White House.”

2016 will mark the 51st year a member from the National Christmas Tree Association has presented the White House with a Christmas Tree. 

Want to learn more about White House Christmas traditions? We're happy to recommend Christmas at the White House, which includes a section about the Official Blue Room Christmas Tree from NCTA Grand Champions. For more information or to order a copy, go to

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