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.
Learn more about past National Grand Champions and their White House experiences below.
2013: Blue Room Christmas Tree Presented
November 27, 2013 (Chesterfield, MO) – A Blue Spruce Christmas Tree grown by John Wyckoff, of Wyckoff’s Christmas Tree Farm in Belvidere, NJ, has been named Grand Champion of the National Christmas Tree Association’s (NCTA) 2013 National Christmas Tree Contest. As growers of the Grand Champion tree, the Wyckoff’s have earned the right to present White House Christmas Trees this season.
Trees entered in the NCTA contest must fit into one of five species categories: True Fir, Douglas-fir, Spruce, Pine or Other. A panel of judges, made up of long-time growers and past contest winners, select the first-, second- and third-place winners in each category, then attendees of the NCTA conference and a panel of consumer judges vote for their favorite among the species finalists. Those vote totals determined the Grand Champion and Reserve Champion trees, which were announced August 10 at the NCTA conference being held in Arlington, VA.
“The fact that an American farm family gets to provide a Christmas Tree to be displayed in the White House indicates just how important a farm-grown Christmas tree is to the traditions of our country,” said Cline Church, NCTA president and a Christmas Tree grower from Fleetwood, N.C. “Our whole industry is proud of the Wyckoff family for showcasing our crop in the most famous house in America.”
To enter NCTA’s national contest, growers must first win their state/regional competitions in the previous 12 months. While this is their first time to be Grand Champions of the NCTA contest, the Wyckoff’s are no strangers to winning their state competitions. Their farm was New Jersey Grand Champion in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2008, 2007, 1999, 1992, 1990 and 1978.
The Wyckoff Farm has been in the family since 1839, passing from generation to generation. The farm is currently owned by John W. Wyckoff, Jr. and Judy Wyckoff Morris. The current John Wyckoff is the 6th generation to farm the land. His two sons, John and Bill along with their families help on the farm, especially during the Christmas season. “We sort of epitomize the concept of ‘family farm’ I guess,” said Wyckoff. “For us, Christmas Tree farming is truly a family affair.”
Angela Reid, White House Usher, along with White House Superintendent of Grounds Dale Haney and Jim Adams with the National Park Service visited the Wyckoff’s farm on October 30 and selected four trees to be used as Christmas trees in the White house this coming holiday season. The trees will be displayed in various rooms of the White House as part of the official holiday decorations. The Wyckoff family will present their trees to First Lady Michelle Obama on Friday, November 29 in a ceremony on the North Portico.
“Unfortunately, they couldn't find the perfect big tree for the Blue Room,” said Wyckoff. “But we are excited they did pick out other trees from our farm to display in the White House this holiday season.”
A Chance to Shine
While the Grand Champions are in the spotlight on both selection and presentation days, the whole industry gets a chance to shine because of this great tradition. This event generates a great deal of positive media attention for the Real Christmas Tree industry each year and helps ensure that farm-grown Christmas Trees remain a tradition in our nation’s house. Members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented the official White House Christmas Tree for display in the Blue Room every year since 1966, when Lyndon Johnson was president.
It’s nice to be able to tell the whole world, that they only decorate with fresh, farm-grown Christmas Trees in the First Family’s house.
Congratulations once again to John and Leslie for being 2013 Grand Champions and thanks to both the Wyckoff family and Botek family for representing all of us in the Christmas Tree industry last November.
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, visit http://www.fifeanddrumpress.com