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Donald Trump lights National Christmas Tree for first time

By PTI
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    Washington, December 1: US President Donald Trump, joined by First Lady  Melania, lit the National Christmas Tree for the first time. He presided over the annual lighting of the National Christmas Tree during which he wished his countrymen and people across the world a very merry Christmas.

    US President Donald Trump. PTI file photo

    "Now as the president of the United States, it's my tremendous honour to finally wish America and the world a very Merry Christmas," Trump said, as the audience cheered. In his remarks, Trump said, for Christians this is a holy season, the celebration of the birth of lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

    "The Christmas story begins 2000 year ago with a mother, a father, their baby son, and the most extraordinary gift of all, the gift of God's love for all of humanity. Whatever our beliefs we know that the birth of Jesus Christ and the story of this incredibly life forever changed the course of human history," he said.

    "There's hardly an aspect of our lives today that his life has not touched – art, music, culture, law and our respect for the sacred dignity of every person, everywhere in the world. …. Each one of us is a child of God. That is the true source of joy this time of the year. That is what makes every Christmas merry…." Trump said. "We are called to serve one another, to love one another, and to pursue peace in our hearts and all throughout the world," he added.

    Former US President Ulysses S. Grant signed legislation marking Christmas as a national holiday. According to the White House Historical Association, the first Christmas tree in the White House was placed in the Yellow Oval Room on second floor in 1889, during the Benjamin Harrison administration. Grover Cleveland was the first to use electric lights on a family Christmas tree, in 1894.

    And Calvin Coolidge was the first president to preside over the National Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the Ellipse, in 1923. Since 1966, the National Christmas Tree Association has been holding a competition for the official White House Blue Room tree.

    To qualify for the national contest, growers must first win their state or regional competitions, so being named National Grand Champion is a major achievement.

    The record for the number of trees in the White House was held for many years by the Eisenhower administration when 26 trees filled every floor of the house.

    That mark has been eclipsed on several occasions in recent times, including the Clinton administration's 36 trees in the 1997 theme of "Santa's Workshop," and the 2008 White House Christmas decorations of the Bush administration that included 27 trees as part of a theme of "A Red, White and Blue Christmas."

    PTI 

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