QUESTA, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s only June, but U.S. Capitol workers are going Christmas tree shopping in northern New Mexico. This year, it’s New Mexico’s turn to supply a giant tree for Capitol Hill.
“I need to know my distance to the tree,” said a U.S. Forest Service worker. USFS workers are hard at work in the Carson National Forrest near Questa, trying to figure out how big this tree is.
“This tree is 49 feet tall,” said the USFS worker. Sadly, this tree is coming up short—almost 21 feet short of what they’re looking for.
“We’re selecting the 2019 US Capitol Christmas tree,” said Jim Kaufmann, Director of Capitol Grounds and Arboretum.
This year, the USFS picked New Mexico to find a Christmas tree grand enough for the west lawn at the U.S. Capitol. But in this forest, they’re having a tough time finding the perfect tree.
“I was really hoping the Forest Service was going to make my job easy, but they did not do that,” said Kaufmann. “They’ve made my job pretty difficult. They’ve showed me quite a number of really good candidates.”
Capitol workers said they’re looking for a tree that stands out, and well, stands up straight, too. “It has to be straight because behind the Christmas tree will be at the Washington Monument,” said Kaufmann.
The tree not only has to look good, but it also has to hold up thousands of handmade ornaments from New Mexicans showcasing all things New Mexico—like chile, hot air balloons, even Smokey Bear.
“When we take that tree to D.C. and it gets stood up on the west lawn of the Capitol…that it’s clear that the collage of the ornaments on there, that it’s representing New Mexico well,” said USFS Deputy District Ranger Ricardo Martinez.
Although they haven’t picked out a tree yet, they’re not ruling out any type of tree. Well, except for one.
“Charlie Brown Christmas trees make good trees too,” said Kaufmann. “But unfortunately, we will not be getting a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.”
Workers said they hope to find that Capitol tree by the end of the week. They will cut it down in November and then haul it off to D.C.
For more information about submitting New Mexico-themed ornaments to the USFS for the Capitol tree, click here.