Two Texas-sized Christmas trees were welcomed to the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon, one set up in the House chamber, the other in the Senate.
First lady Cecilia Abbott also received three smaller trees from the Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association that will be used to decorate the halls of the Capitol.
The House tree was greeted by about 25 men who carried the massive Virginia pine up two flights of stairs to its new home. Christmas tunes echoed through the chamber as the tree tipped into place — with the aid of a crane, ropes and a chainsaw — and other staffers hung bows and pine garlands from the viewing gallery.
The House tree, from the Elves Christmas Tree Farm in Denison, stands 26 feet tall and has been a tradition in the House for more than 30 years. This year’s Senate tree, which is just shy of 25 feet tall and from the same farm, is the upper chamber’s second official tree.
The Senate will hold a decorating ceremony for its tree on Thursday when senators will hang ornaments from their respective districts, said Keith Elkins, spokesman for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
The House has observed a similar decoration tradition since 2009 with the District Ornament Project, started by Julie Straus, wife of House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio. House members are scheduled to decorate their tree on Friday.
“The distinct character and diversity of Texas are reflected in these ornaments,” Julie Straus said in a statement. “Each ornament tells a story about a unique part of our state.”
Tuesday’s event marked the first time since April that the House chamber has been open to the public since undergoing renovations. The chamber’s carpet was replaced, the walls painted and a new voting system installed.