Old Traditions and New Technology Illuminate the National Christmas Tree

  • Eco-chic tree in President’s Park is adorned with thousands of GE LEDs, the latest in holiday lighting technology
EAST CLEVELAND, OH — November 30, 2011 — (NYSE:GE) — In 1923, families gathered around the radio to listen as President Calvin Coolidge lit the first National Christmas Tree. Only imaginations brought the ceremony, and the tree located in what is now President’s Park, to life. Eighty-nine years later, families are still gathering to witness the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, but 21st century technology is giving them a front-row seat. 
At 4:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 1, GE Lighting, in conjunction with the National Park Foundation, an official charitable partner of America’s national parks and the National Park Service, invites families to gather around the laptop to watch as the National Christmas Tree come to life. A live stream of the ceremony will be broadcast at www.thenationaltree.org.
GE Lighting has been designing the National Christmas Tree, and contributing its lighting and decorations for 49 years.  The design process usually begins only a few months after the previous year’s lighting on the National Christmas Tree is shut off, often starting in March or earlier.
Though the complete design of this year’s tree will remain a secret until the tree is unveiled, when the switch is flicked, thousands of GE Color Effects® programmable, color-changing GE LED lights will illuminate the tree’s branches.
“These ENERGY STAR® qualified LED strings provide a theatrical quality to this year’s design. They showcase the ever-increasing versatility and performance enhancements of LED lighting solutions,” says Mary Beth Gotti, manager of the GE Lighting Institute in Cleveland.
Shining at the top of the tree will be an heirloom-style star, featuring GE’s Tetra® MAX LED Lighting, typically used for commercial signage. The Tetra LED lighting is embraced for its long life, energy savings and bright light output visible from a distance.
This is the fifth year the National Christmas Tree will feature LED lights. In 2007, as America began making conscious efforts to become more energy efficient, GE incorporated LED lights for the first time in the design. By 2009, the entire lighting display for the White House used LED lights, making energy efficiency a new tradition – one that offers as much as 80 percent in energy savings over previous incandescent designs.
The 56 state and territory trees are lit with ENERGY STAR® qualified GE StayBright® LED micro lights, in cool white, along with an LED 3-D snowflake topper.  For more information on the National Christmas Tree, visit www.thenationaltree.org.
2010 National Christmas Tree
Last year’s tree décor (pictured above) featured the latest lighting technology from GE, and this year’s color-changing LED lights won’t disappoint. The complete design will be revealed at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 1.