Among my earliest memories was my parents taking me to see the White House Christmas tree on the Ellipse when I was around five-years old. Everything seemed so big.
A half century later, I finally attended the lighting ceremony in person on Thursday. I never really thought about attending it, but when my daughter Megan won tickets I figured why not? Just park a few blocks away and walk past the stalled traffic.
It was a fabulous experience. I’ll do it again if fortune provides tickets, though the next lottery we win should really be the one that pays life-changing money.
Sure, it was frosty and I lost a pen at the security check (that’s 70 cents I won’t get back.) But it was a lot of fun with plenty of entertainment and we even had seats. Well, next time I’ll try to move closer to the performers after making a rookie mistake of sitting in the first section of seats I passed, but the large screen let us see Miss Piggy and Reese Witherspoon and we were close enough to hear Trombone Shorty and the Joyous String Emsemble of kids.
The Obamas counted down from five and the tree was lit for the 92nd time since President Calvin Coolidge started the tradition in 1923. The crowd of 5,000 or so roared approval.
I’ve seen the tree many times over many years. The 50 state trees seem a lot smaller than I remember as a kid. But, being there live was a very Washingtonian experience.
Another thing off the bucket list.