California Christmas Tree Ceremony


General Grant, Nation's Christmas Tree

SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST Trek to the Nation's Christmas Tree, Sunday, December 12, 2021, 2:30-5 p.m.

Annual Trek to the Nation's Christmas Tree
Sanger Chamber of Commerce

Sequoia National Forest, CA

The Annual Trek to the Nation's Christmas Tree

Trek to the Nation's Christmas Tree is a Sanger tradition that honors a living memorial much older than the tradition, itself. Always held the 2nd Sunday in December! All events are open to anyone. Come and join us in the Christmas fun!

Like always, activities will include singers from a choir or performance group, a non-denominational Christmas Message, and a War Memorial Ceremony all delivered at the base of the General Grant Tree.

Chartered buses leave from the Sanger Chamber of Commerce office. Reservations can be made beginning November 1st and will be taken until busses are full.  Give the Sanger Chamber a call if you want to be added to the mailing list or to make a reservation. For more information call the Sanger Chamber at 559-875-4575.

Do you love Christmas trees as much as Christmas, itself? Christmas Tree Lightings are probably the one activity that unites nearly every city in the U.S. during the winter and brings communities together to celebrate life.

If you think the nation's Christmas tree is the one that they cut each year and ship to Washington, D.C. from the West, think twice. The Nation's Christmas Tree is very much alive and has been for over 1,700 years--and there are no plans of ever cutting it and carting it off to D.C.! In the Sequoia National Forest in California, General Grant Tree was declared the Nation's Christmas Tree in 1926 by President Calvin Coolidge. In 1956 President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared this tree a National Shrine as a memory to honor those who have given their lives for their country.

According to the story about how the tree was selected as the national tree for the United States, Charles E. Lee of Sanger, California stood next to a little girl and they both looked up at the tree in 1924. As they admired the tree the girl exclaimed, "what a wonderful Christmas tree it would be!" The idea stayed with Lee, and in 1925 he organized the first Christmas program, held at the Grant Tree at noon on Christmas Day. Lee worked with the Sanger Chamber of Commerce and wrote to President Calvin Coolidge, who designated the General Grant as the Nation's Christmas Tree on April 28, 1926. The Sanger Chamber of Commerce continues to sponsor an annual Christmas "Trek to the Tree" on the second Sunday of December at 2:30 p.m.

General Grant Tree is not the oldest tree nor the biggest. The oldest tree is 1,500 years older. The biggest tree in the nearby forest is General Sherman Tree 27 miles away from General Grant. Each year in December a ceremony and wreath is placed at the base of the Nation's Christmas Tree. Before Christmas, a celebration is held at the General Grant Tree, the nation's Christmas tree, at the Sequoia Kings Canyon NP. If you can make it up to the mountains for the celebration, it is one of the most awe-inspiring events to bring meaning to your holidays.

As you plan your vacations this winter, several excellent journeys are to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park where you'll discover the most massive trees on earth. Or journey to the coast redwoods with a stay in Eureka to explore the tallest trees on earth.

The Sanger Chamber of Commerce sponsors an annual Christmas "Trek to the Tree" on the second Sunday of December at 2:30 p.m. For more information, contact them at (559) 875-4575. Rangers lay a wreath at the foot of the General Grant Tree, the Nation's Christmas Tree. The General Grant Tree is the only living thing designated by Congress as a national shrine. This sequoia is a living memorial to the men and women of the United States who have given their lives in service to their country.

For more information contact the Sanger Chamber of Commerce 1789 Jensen Ave., Suite B Sanger CA Call: 875-4575

Trek to 'The Nation's Christmas Tree

History The General Grant Tree was fittingly named the Nation's Christmas Tree because of its age and size.

It stands in Grant Grove of the Kings Canyon Nation Park Nation Park. This monarch in both age and stature has stood for an estimated 2,000-4,000 years and has grown to the height of 267 '. The General Grant Tree was officially dedicated as the Nation's Christmas Tree on April 28, 1926 by the United States Department of the Interior. On October 1, 1949, Sanger, California was recognized by the Post Office Department as the Nation's Christmas Tree City. Because of such dedication, and because of the work done and interest shown by the citizens of Sanger, California, the Nation's Christmas Tree has become known nationally and internationally. Congress, by public law 441, made the General Grant Tree a National Shrine on March 29, 1956. Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, personal representative of the President of the United States, officially dedicated this tree on November 11, 1956 as a perpetual shrine to our nation's war dead, during a special ceremony at the base of the tree. The first Christmas service at the base of the tree was inspired by R.J. Senior-then President of the Sanger Chamber of Commerce and Charles E. Lee-then Secretary of the Sanger Chamber of Commerce, in 1925. In 1924 R.J. Senior was wandering through the Grant Grove area. He approached a huge tree, stopped, and stared in awe at the enormous tree. As he stood looking at nature's masterpiece, a small girl approached. After a moment of complete silence she said, mostly to herself, 'What a lovely Christmas tree that would be.' She then turned and ran off into the grove. They never learned her name, but they couldn't forget her words. The following Christmas, Senior, Lee, and some friends trekked over what was then a snow covered dirt road to the park. They placed some flowers beside the tree and held a short service. Upon returning home Lee wrote a letter to President Calvin Coolidge. Four months later, on April 28, 1926, the president adopted Lee's suggestion and officially designated the General Grant Tree as the Nation's Christmas Tree. Ever since 1926 these services have been an annual event. The service concludes the Christmas Festival Celebration in which the citizens of Sanger and people from all over the world join in stimulating the spirit of 'Peace on Earth, Good Will To All Men'. Each year the crowds gather, they sing, pray, and pay tribute to this wonder of nature. The members of the National Park Service join in the services by placing a wreath at the base of the tree. During the war years, when travel was restricted due to gas rationing, there were no official services. However, a member of the National Park Service walked to the tree and placed a wreath at its base. The massive giant is large enough to produce enough lumber to construct thirty-five, 5 bedroom homes. The tree stands 267 feet high, its lowest branch is 130 feet above the ground, and the circumference of its trunk is 107 feet. The service is always held on the second Sunday in December at 2:30pm at the base of the General Grant Tree in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park Canyon National Park Park. Bus services are available from the Sanger Chamber of Commerce. All buses will have a host/hostess on board and coffee and pastries will be available before boarding.

For bus options, bus prices, reservations or information please call the Sanger Chamber of Commerce at (559) 875-4575, or fax to (559)875-0745, or write to us at 1789 Jensen Ave., Ste. B, Sanger, CA 93657 Jensen Ave., Ste. B, Sanger, CA 93657 CA 93657. You can e-mail us at . Please check with us on November 1st 1st for the exact prices of the bus trips. MasterCard, VISA, checks, or money orders are accepted. Due to the heavy traffic in the Park and very limited parking space at the tree, it is strongly suggested that you come to Sanger and ride the chartered buses up to the park. For weather and road conditions please call the Park Service at, 559-565-3341 ext. 941 or 942. Chains may be required at any time so please be prepared for winter weather conditions. Bus reservations will be taken starting November 1st and can be made by calling the Chamber office.

Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.

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