Holiday Season Kicks Off with Tree Lighting Ceremonies at the Capitol and Union Station (photos)

Giovanni Philip Gaynor from Colville, Wash., lights the tree with House Speaker John Boehner.  U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine looks on.
Jeff Malet
Giovanni Philip Gaynor from Colville, Wash., lights the tree with House Speaker John Boehner. U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine looks on.

The D.C. holiday season kicked off in high gear with tree lighting ceremonies at both the Capitol and Union Station on Dec. 3.

At the Capitol, House Speaker John Boehner was on hand to light up the tree, assisted by Giovanni Philip Gaynor, a first grader from Colville, Washington. The 88-foot-tall Englemann spruce arrived at the Capitol last week. Participating in the ceremony were Stephen T. Ayers, Architect of the Capitol and members of the Washington Congressional delegation, USDA Forest Service and Capitol Police, with musical entertainment from "The President's Own" United States Marine Band and the "noteBusters" Children's Choir of Washington, D.C. The Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit nightly from dusk to 11 p.m. throughout the holiday season.

At Union Station, the Embassy of Norway presented a Christmas tree for the 16th year. This year’s tree is decorated with ornaments depicting Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” to mark the 150th anniversary of the Norwegian artist’s birth. Hundreds of ornaments, depicting "The Scream," decorated the tree along with American and Norwegian flags. It will be on display through December, a symbol of the friendship between Norway and the United States, and a token of thanks from Norway to the U.S. during World War II. The ceremony included performances by New York Opera stars Andrew Bidlack and Rosa Betancourt, and the Carolers of Greater Washington. The United States Marine Corps helped out with Toys for Tots. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus handed out gifts to the children.

View our photos of both tree lighting ceremonies by clicking on the photo icons below.

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