O Christmas tree, dead Christmas tree: Arizona supplies U.S. Capitol Tree

November’s here and that means one thing – it’s time to hurl ourselves face first into the upcoming holiday season.

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Arizona is doing that in a big way by slaughtering a mighty blue spruce as instructed by the federal government.

Yes, our state has the honor of supplying this year’s United States Capitol Tree.

No, it won’t be placed inside the White House, but rather outside in front of the Capitol Building.

The 85-foot beauty from the White Mountain area’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests will be chopped at the knees on Nov. 7, according to a news release from the National Forest Service.

Everyone is welcome to attend this historic event – as it’s the first time ever that a forest in Arizona has been chosen to deplete its resources in the name of tradition.

The tree slaughtering ceremony will feature White Mountain Apache Dancers, an Apache blessing, choral music and Arizona’s official historian Marshall Trimble commemorating the event.

That’s quite a funeral.

The dead tree will then “tour Arizona” and other parts of the nation on the way to its Nov. 30 delivery to the United States Congress in Washington, D.C.

A dead tree is taking a tour? Isn’t that kind of like pulling a casket behind a sled and telling the corpse to enjoy the view?

I am not anti-Christmas trees. They are a fine addition to holiday décor, with their stately stance and fragrant boughs.

With a population of more than 300 million, if only a quarter of the nation’s residents wanted a fresh Christmas tree, 75 million trees would be killed.

But fake trees may not be the answer, according to a report on MSN.com, as they will eventually rot in a landfill when they become too ratty for display.

In fact, the report goes on to explain that Christmas trees and other live holiday décor are grown as crops specifically for that purpose, and not raped from Mother Nature.

That’s good to know. That’s probably why we haven’t encountered any “Save the Spruce” groups, too.

But that still doesn’t excuse the 85-foot slaughter, which is indeed being taken from its natural habitat. But in the big scheme of things, does one dead tree from the White Mountains actually matter?


wb-logolilWhat do you think?

Are you honored Arizona was chosen to supply the Capitol Christmas tree or do you wish the feds would pick on another state?

Are you a fan of Christmas trees? Do you recycle yours properly when you’re through with them?

Should we forget Christmas altogether and just sit around grouchy like a bunch of Grinches?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
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27 Responses to O Christmas tree, dead Christmas tree: Arizona supplies U.S. Capitol Tree

  1. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! Hey! Maybe the Stanford mascot is available…
    Seems like a shame to remove a towering blue spruce,(my personal favorite of the conifers)but, it’s only 1 tree, so I guess it is alright. 🙂

    • Rynski says:

      mornin’ radmax! yes!! i was thinking they should use the stanford mascot, too – hahha. but i also read somewhere the tree mascot was busted for being drunk in public. we don’t need that kind of riffraff in front of the capitol bldg!
      i’m partial to the spruces. or the mighty redwoods. wouldn’t it be funny if they cut down a redwood during a ceremony and it crushed all the nearby cars and buildings?

      • radmax says:

        Ha! Awesome! What a calamity…
        As far as drunks in front of the capital…there are plenty inside obviously…so I see your point. Might be a fitting community service though… 🙂

      • Rynski says:

        i agree – community service for the drunken tree = stand and freeze in front of the capitol bldg for all of december.
        we should find that guy….

  2. azmouse says:

    “Tree Slaughtering Ceremony”???

    When you put it that way, it sounds pathetically depressing. At least it isn’t a ‘tree bludgeoning ceremony’.

  3. Jennatoolz says:

    I have some family up in the White Mountain area…I wonder if they’ll be attending this spruce-tacular event!

    One year, my parents didnt feel like messing with a real tree, and they didn’t want to get buried in all the branches of a fake one either. So what did they do? They bought an inflatable one! Haha…I loved that Christmas. 😀

  4. azmouse says:

    I’ll catch up with this a little later….

    It’s the first Wednesday of the month, and you know what that means! Senior Citizen Discount Day at Fry’s!!! I volunteer and help the elderly folks shop, get in their Lil’ Rascal-type shopping scooters, and reach the hard to reach stuff for them. It’s so much fun. I kinda have my own clientele who come to see me. 🙂
    Last month I was helping this 94 year old guy, George, shop. He would talk and his dentures didn’t fit his mouth right…like they were to big or something (kinda like Rudy Giuliani) and boy if those teeth didn’t finally fly out of his mouth onto the grocery store floor! It was great. We were laughing so hard….
    I love old people!

    • Jennatoolz says:

      LOL!! So cool of you to do that. I would sometimes help the elderly shop a few years ago when I worked for Walmart. This one lady was clothes shopping, and she’d ask for my input, lol. She was a pro at maneuvering that little scooter thing around! 😛

    • radmax says:

      Hi az! Hey, you’re off topic, Mark is gonna getcha! 🙂 …unless you are helping them cut down trees for the Whitehouse…

      • azmouse says:

        Yes! There will be an old people-tree-slaughtering-ceremony at a Fry’s near you!
        Thanks Maxxie,  lost my head for a minute.

      • Rynski says:

        it’s on topic since I’LL BET there are already Christmas items for sale at Fry’s and other neighborhood stores – thus the link.

    • Rynski says:

      awww, you’re the bestest, AZMouse. have fun – and watch for flying dentures!

  5. Karen Nelson says:

    Ahhh… first Halloween pumpkins and now my beloved Christmas tree!!  Geez, Ryn! How to make a person feel awful about every fun holiday!! Why is it that we have so many “bad” traditions!?  For me – at least until I get too “old” to do it (do you like the tie-in to Dianne’s comments?)- I will be “slaughtering” a tree!! Well, I won’t actually be doing the slaughtering… we have butchers to do that. I just go to the lot to buy one already dead! But, just like the cows a lot of you eat, it has been raised and fed to grow nice and fat just for me to have a Christmas tree in my house! Groves and groves of Christmas trees! It’s big business! You wouldn’t want to put all those migrant workers out of a job, now would you?  As for the Capitol tree… they would get it from some forest somewhere… to have it from our AZ forest one year… fine with me! We’ll make more! I hope….

    • Rynski says:

      hey karen –
      i am delighted to hear you indulge in a christmas tree, really – it’s a good thing (just as I was sad to hear you weren’t planning on carving a pumpkin). and yes, i noted that trees are grown as crops specifically for that purpose, so we’re A-OK.
      i, too, was wondering about the holiday traditions and how so many seem to go against some “newfangled” ways of thinking – i was going to list all that i could think of, but figured the tree one was just depressing enough on its own (hahah).
      as long as no one starts abusing reindeer by throwing them from airplanes to really see if they can fly, we should be able to get through the holidays with the Earth still intact.

  6. koreyk says:

    Well, this is not the only US government sanctioned cellulose execution.  From 1923 until 1973, and again in 1977, a murdered tree was mounted as the National Christmas Tree on the White House grounds.  They have since gone to smaller living trees, usually a Colorado blue spruce from Pennsylvania (!?).  Arizona’s White Mountain Apache tribe presented a 70 foot blue spruce as the 1965 tree. 

    For those that voted “It’s an honor and I’m proud”, our tree is second in stature only to Montana’s 89 foot engelmann spruce in 1989.  There were several other candidates, including at least one over 90 feet, but this one apparently better fit the criteria. 


    • Rynski says:

      thanks for info, koreyk – you are quite up on the subject. so if the white mountain apache tribe presented a tree in 1965 i wonder why the release said it was the FIRST TIME IN HISTORY?? – perhaps this is the first time in history that Arizona was ASKED to donate, rather than taking the initiative on its own?
      i also like the colorado blue spruce from pennsylvania….haha

      • koreyk says:

        I was just a kid in ’65, but there was a big hoopla (time to bring back that word) in the local news then about the national Christmas tree being from AZ, that I still remembered it.  I too wondered why the release said it was the first time, so I did some research (the real reason that I am quite up on the subject, alas), and discovered that we were dealing with two separate tree assassination conspiracies;  The National Christmas Tree, which gave us the ’65 tree, and The Capitol Christmas Tree, which is the tree you reported on.

      • leftfield says:

        That’s how Christmas Tree Lake in the White Mountains got its name.

      • koreyk says:

        To quote Johnny Carson; “I did not know that”.

        I love place name etymology, especially when it concerns Arizona.  Actually, I love trivia in general.  Get me in a room with a like minded individual or two, and it quickly turns into a regular dork-o-thon.  It can be a powerful weapon if you know how to use it.

        I highly recommend the original “Arizona Place Names” (over the current highly condensed edition).  You don’t even have to be a dork to find it fascinating.

      • Rynski says:

        so we have double homicides every year (hahaha)!
        thanks for your research, koreyk – i should give you a tagline on the article! also – i WHOLLY agree HOOPLA is a gorgeous word.
        and leftfield, thank YOU for the bit of name place lore.

  7. Thomas Hruska says:

    Wait…we have Christmas trees that aren’t scraggly looking?  Where?  We should send a cactus instead just to see if they can decorate it.

  8. Forest Spruce says:

    Crap, I am late. This stupid enviromentalist ( author of the article ) has no clue as to the cycle of a forest or the concept of a re-newable natural recource. The death of the tree will bring people together, spread the spirit of Christmas, the message of Christ, and end up as mulch for other plants. New trees will grow without its shadow and you are a moron. Stop eating vegetables if this bothers you, you stupid hippie, you would die without people cutting trees. You make me sick, kill yourself and help save society.

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