It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Capitol.
Two imposing Virginia pines were guided to the east and west entrances of the Capitol, lowered onto a tarp and carried up a flight of stairs into the House and Senate chambers Tuesday. The trees came from the Elves Christmas Tree Farm in Denison, 75 miles north of Dallas.
Staff members in both chambers, lawmakers and their spouses will help decorate the trees throughout the week. The tree in the Senate is 24 feet tall; the House tree stands at 23 feet.
The trees arrived Monday and were treated with flame retardant before they were allowed inside. Workers delivered the Senate tree first Tuesday morning, and the House tree entered the Capitol a few hours later, both drawing small crowds.
A Christmas tree traditionally adorns the House each year. The Senate renewed its Christmas tree tradition in 2015, after about 70 years of not having a tree.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, said at the time that he was concerned not having a tree was sending the wrong message.
“We respect all faiths and all religions, but Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus,” Patrick said, holding an ornament in 2015. “So this Christmas ball is Mary and Joseph looking at the baby Jesus because we have to remember what Christmas is truly about for millions and millions and millions of Americans.”
The Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association delivered three smaller trees by horse-drawn carriage to the south entrance of the Capitol on Monday. Those trees will be placed throughout the building, and one of them will be used for the “Holiday Wishes campaign,” according to a statement from House Speaker Joe Straus’ office.
“This tree will be decorated with ornaments representing children in the Child Protective Services system, and Capitol employees will sponsor those children by purchasing holiday gifts for them,” the statement read.
Two additional smaller trees can be found this holiday season in the lieutenant governor’s reception room and the back hall behind the House chamber.