Kids invited to make ornaments for the Capitol Christmas tree |

Kids invited to make ornaments for the Capitol Christmas tree

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Colorado youngsters have an opportunity this year to make thousands of ornaments to hang on the Capitol Christmas tree in Washington, D.C.

The 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree is also coming from Colorado, and is to be selected from the stands of spruce and fir in the Blanco Ranger District of the White River National Forest in the White River Valley above Meeker.

Kids who send ornaments will be entered into a drawing for a trip to Washington, D.C., accompanied by their parents. The winner will be able to stand next to the Speaker of the House John Boehner and flip the switch at a tree lighting ceremony.

An additional 1,000 ornaments are also needed for smaller, indoor trees that will decorate offices throughout the nation’s capitol.

Members of youth groups, 4-H clubs, Boy Scout or Girl Scout troops and art councils, as well as individual youngsters, are invited to participate.

The ornaments should portray the many ways that Coloradans celebrate the outdoors. Children are encouraged to create their ornaments out of recycled materials.

Called “The People’s Tree,” the capitol Christmas tree will grace the west lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., during the holiday season.

Since 1970, this special tree has been selected from a national forest. This is the third time that Colorado will provide the tree, and the first time for it to come from the White River National Forest.

The Capitol Christmas Tree is considered Colorado’s gift to the nation, and the theme of the project is “Celebrating Our Great Outdoors.”

It’s an opportunity to highlight the recreational opportunities public lands provide.

The White River National Forest has partnered with Choose Outdoors, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “Connecting Americans to Public Land through Outdoor Recreation.” Choose Outdoors is responsible for fundraising for the project, primarily through private donations. Many activities, including art and song contests, will accompany the year-long celebration.

Before creating an ornament, please visit for specific criteria to ensure your ornament can hang on the tree.

The ornaments must be made to withstand three weeks of wet, wintry conditions outdoors, and be nine to 12 inches in size so they are visible from 25 to 70 feet away while on the tree.

Ornaments for the indoor tree should be slightly smaller, about five to seven inches, and can be somewhat more delicate than those needed for the outdoor tree.

They should have holes suitable for hanging but please do not affix wire for hanging. Ornaments should be nonbreakable.

Ornaments must be sent in by Oct. 5, 2012.

Mary Cunningham at the Blanco Ranger District is the Ornament Campaign coordinator for this effort.

For more information on making and sending ornaments, contact Cunningham at (970) 878-6015 or

In mid-November, the tree will spend a week touring Colorado before heading across the nation to the U.S. Capitol. Communities along the route are encouraged to organize a celebration with the theme of “Celebrating Our Great Outdoors.”

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