Forrest Scene

December 2012 News Releases

KTWU to air the 2012 Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony

Washburn 150 ornamentExperience the magic of the 2012 National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on KTWU. KTWU will air the ceremony at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11; 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17; and 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 25. Viewers may also watch the pre-show and tree lighting ceremony online at starting at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6. Following the live online stream, the show will be available anytime on-demand. 

The 90th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony begins four weeks of holiday events in President’s Park. The National Park Service and National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, sponsor the event. The 30-year tradition of the official Kansas ornament continues in 2012 with recognition of Washburn’s sesquicentennial anniversary. This year’s ornament features the 150th anniversary logo of Washburn University, depicting the school’s mascot, the Ichabod. The back of the ornament bears the state seal.

Twelve official Kansas ornaments will be displayed on the Kansas state tree, along with another one dozen ornaments made of wheat. The wheat ornaments were made by students at Quincy Elementary School, the art magnet school of Topeka Unified School District 501. The longtime designer of Kansas’ annual state ornament, Topeka artist Anita Wolgast, worked with the children, who soaked wheat in water and twisted it into a variety of shapes.

As one of America’s oldest holiday traditions, the National Christmas Tree Lighting began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse in President’s Park.  Since 1923, each succeeding President has carried on the tradition of what now has become a month-long event presented by the National Park Foundation and National Park Service.  In addition to the National Christmas Tree display, President’s Park hosts a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions, such as Santa’s Workshop, nightly holiday performances, a Yule log, nativity scene, and model train display. For ticket information and talent announcements, as well as other event details, please visit  

The members of the committee who designed the official Kansas ornament were Hughes, Adrianne Johnson, Rogers, Wolgast and Brandi Youse. The ornaments are available for purchase at the Washburn’s Ichabod Shop for $24. They also can be purchased at the Kansas Historical Society gift shop, the Rally House and the Mulvane Art Museum gift shop.


Amanda Hughes, university relations, Washburn University, 785-670-2153
KTWU, 785-670-1111
Alanna Sobel, National Park Foundation, 202-684-3354