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Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
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IMAGES of this project are available online.

High school students create N.H.’s official ornaments for National Christmas Tree display

Students from Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, N.H., have created ornaments for the New Hampshire tree that will be part of the “Pathway of Peace” National Christmas Tree display in Washington, D.C., throughout December.

Fifty-six trees, one for each state, U.S. territory and the District of Columbia, will surround the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse, located on the National Mall between the White House and the Washington Monument.

Students worked with artist and educator Christopher Morse on the project in September and October. They used a variety of media – including ceramics, metal, wood, fiber, natural materials, digital imagery and acrylic painting – to create ornaments that they feel best reflect New Hampshire. The ornaments depict beaver dams, log cabins and historical buildings, outdoor activities, wildlife, lilacs and more. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind creation.

Students traveled to the State House in Concord, N.H., to display their ornaments at the Nov. 6 Governor and Council meeting. Each received a citation from Gov. Maggie Hassan, which noted:

“By mixing several artistic disciplines, your creative work captures the wondrous beauty and the charming essence of New Hampshire for visitors from across our nation to enjoy. On behalf of the citizens of New Hampshire, I commend you for your artistic vision and your valued contribution to this beloved national tradition and wish you all the best in the future.”

The National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony takes place on Friday, Dec. 6, beginning at 4:30 p.m. It will be live streamed and then available online at

In 1856, New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce, fourteenth president of the United States, became the first president to place a Christmas tree in the White House.

The National Christmas Tree Lighting began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse. Since then, each succeeding President has carried on the tradition of what now has become a month-long event presented by the National Park Foundation and National Park Service.

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