“Why is it special to have a Christmas tree from Alaska?”

Congratulations to Anna DeVolld, a 5th grade Connections Homeschool student from Soldotna, and her winning essay which was chosen by Senator Murkowski from hundreds of submissions throughout the state. On December 2, 2015, she helped The Honorable Paul D. Ryan, Speaker of the House, light the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The 74 foot Lutz spruce tree grew in the Chugach National Forest near Seward, Alaska, traveled 3,410.94 miles over its two-week trip, and is the first U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to travel by ship, for three days, in 100 mph winds and 50' seas to reach its destination!

Adorned with thousands of LED lights and handcrafted ornaments from Alaska, it lights up the capitol on the West Lawn, and is lit each day from sundown to 11:00 p.m. through January 1, 2016.

“The holiday spirit is already alive and well in the many thoughtful, imaginative, and fun answers, which is what made it so difficult for me to choose only one winner,” Senator Murkowski said in a statement. “I am so proud of these young Alaskans and wish to thank everyone who took the time to submit essays.”

This is Anna’s response to the essay question, “Why is it special to have a Christmas tree from Alaska?”

“A Christmas tree from the Chugach National Forest is a special symbol of Alaska to the nation. The tree lights display the Aurora Borealis, shimmering across the heavens. Tinsel resembles the Alaskan glaciers that sparkle day and night. Ornaments represent the wild Alaskan creatures that dot the forests, sky, and seas. A tall, colorful Christmas tree mirrors the towering Alaskan mountains. Evergreen needles symbolize the Alaskan’s adventurous spirit that never fades. Strong spruce branches stand for Alaskan’s freedom that survives despite troubles. Alaskan Christmas trees are special because they are a symbol of Alaskan pride.” --Anna DeVolld, 5th grade student, Connections Homeschool.


  • Capitol Christmas Tree (link no longer available)
  • KTVA: “2015 Capitol Christmas Tree Ceremony” (link no longer available)
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