WASHINGTON – Two of the nation's three branches of government were adorning themselves with more branches Monday as holiday trees were delivered to the Capitol and the White House.
The Capitol Holiday Tree, which originated from New Mexico's Santa Fe National Forest, was cut earlier this month and has been on a tour across the state since them. According to the Web site for the tree, the Engelmann spruce stands 80 feet tall.
First lady Laura Bush received the White House Christmas Tree, saying this year's theme for the tree would be, "all things bright and beautiful."
"The decorators are in there right now. Santa's elves are in decorating the White House, and all of you will get to see it the day after tomorrow," said Bush.
The White House tree, a Fraser fir, is 18 1/2 feet tall and will be displayed in the White House Blue Room. The tree was cut in North Carolina on Friday, and the first lady thanked the Buddy and Betsy Deal, of Laurel Springs, N.C., for providing the evergreen.
The first lady said the National Christmas Tree Growers Association had provided the White House tree every year for the last 40 years, beginning in 1966 during the Johnson administration.
On Monday a horse-drawn wagon brought the conifer to the North Portico at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
"Our horses aren't working as a team this morning," Bush said as she eyed one restless horse and scanned the tree, which was bound and protruding from the back of a green-and-red wagon.
The Deals have been growing trees for more than 30 years and won a national contest run by the tree growers association, attracting White House staffers.
Gary Walters, chief usher at the White House, and Mike Lawn, grounds foreman, selected the tree at the Deal's farm on Oct. 20. The tree for the Blue Room as well as trees for the Bush family's private residence and the Oval Office were cut on Nov. 25 and transported to Washington.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.