Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Operation Christmas Cheer: Capitol Tree, National Tree, and Willard Hotel

This week's goal is to get almost all of my Christmas posts done. We'll see how this goes.

I love the holidays every year, but this year I was especially determined to enjoy them. Sometimes I can get so caught up in the shopping and doing that I get too stressed to enjoy everything. So this year I started my shopping much earlier, and let myself be ok if I didn't get to do everything I normally do.

The result? I had an entire day before leaving for home – I'd even already half-packed for home – in which to do whatever I wanted. Thus I embarked on what I called Operation: Christmas Cheer. Which consisted of me doing my usual National Christmas Tree and Willard Hotel viewing, plus the addition of the Capitol Christmas Tree and the National Botanic Garden. Though my first stop of the day was the Botanic Garden, I'll start with the last three since I have so many beautiful pictures to sort through.

I've never made it to the Capitol Tree before, I'm not sure why. I expected it to be smaller but it was really quite large and majestic. I expected the Capitol to dwarf it but they really complemented each other.

The tree's ornaments came from people in Colorado and I took a few photos of my favorites. It wasn't too cold of a day and as you can see, the sun was shining and the sky was blazing Carolina blue, so I just took a few minutes to stand and stare.

After that, it was off to catch a bus to take me closer to the White House. (Figuring out even just one bus route along the mall is going to change my life.) Last year's tree was quite puny as it has just been replaced after the previous one was damaged during a storm. The replacement tree ended up dying and they replaced it with this much more grand one.

The state trees have different ornaments every year, with handmade creations encased in clear plastic cases. But this year some of them had decorated the outside of the case, like New York and Florida, or completely eschewed the cases like Idaho, who had gourds. Either there were new regulations this year or there have never been regulations and some states finally got creative, but they were much more impressive this year. My favorite was Florida, with their gorgeous orange blossoms that looked like glass.

This is Connecticut's tree. This was the day after the Sandy Hook tragedy and a little memorial was forming.

My last stop was to look at the outside and inside decorations at the Willard.

I used to only do the outside but I also love to go inside. Their main tree is full of all the past White House ornaments. They also had a pretty amazing gingerbread house.

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