SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. (WBRE/WYOU) — Christmas may be two months away, but White House officials visited a Schuylkill County tree farm this week to choose the nation’s next Christmas tree.
Evergreen Acres Tree Farm is no stranger to the Christmas tree industry, opening for business in 1953. Soon after, owner Paul Shealer and his family began entering their trees in state and national competitions.
This year, the family is celebrating a prestigious victory.
The National Christmas Tree Association has held a competition for 57 consecutive years in which the Grand Champion Grower receives the honor of presenting the White House with a Christmas tree from their farm.
The Shealer family has been competing for over 40 years in the National Tree and Wreath Competition, previously winning Reserved Champion, which put their tree in the Vice Presidents’ residence.
Now, they have won Grand Champion for the second time, which will put their tree in the White House.
“If you live in this area of Pennsylvania, don’t you want to get a tree from the grand champion grower for 2022? The same place that put a tree in the White House?” said Tim O’Connor, the executive director of the National Christmas Tree Association.
To have a chance at Grand Champion, you first must be a State Champion. The winner is then eligible for the National Contest, which took place in North Carolina this year.
“They said it couldn’t be done to take a Douglas Fir to North Carolina in Frazier Fir Country, but we came out on top,” stated Paul Shealer Sr., the previous owner of Evergreen Acre Tree Farm.
“It gives real people the opportunity to do something for the country, it’s a good old competition I guess you can say,” added Paul Shealer Jr., the current owner of Evergreen Acre Tree Farm.
After becoming Grand Champion, this year’s competition might be over for the Shealers but not for their trees. White House officials took in all the characteristics of the trees at Evergreen Acres to find this year’s winner.
“It just fits the room. The height is good, the width is good, and the smell is good. The fullness of it. It just says White House on it,” Dale Haney, the superintendent of the White House Grounds commented.
As the Shealers pass their business down through their family tree, each of their firs is cared for like family.
“Every tree in this farm is sheared by my son and I. So we do all the work, and you can see the results,” Paul Sr. explained.
The selected tree will be harvested in a presentation at the end of November and will then be presented to the First Lady at the White House.