North Dakota Artists Handcraft Ornaments to Accompany National Christmas Tree


VALLEY CITY, N.D. ( – Ornaments by local North Dakota artists will dazzle President’s Park in Washington, D.C. as part of the 95th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting display. Twelve Valley City High School senior art students, Hannah Aberle, Hannah Dockter, Angela Larson, Emerson Meidinger, Allison Nelson, Kayla Triebold, Jack Jordan, Tanner Thomsen, Noelle Thompson, Nita Warcken-Petersen, Patience King and Shelby Thoreson from Valley City, North Dakota designed ornaments that showcase winter scenes and birds from North Dakota.

The handcrafted ornaments will adorn one of 56 trees representing each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia from December 1, 2017 through January 1, 2018 as part of the America Celebrates display.

Valley City High School art instructor Kelly Callahan said, “It is an honor for our students to decorate for their home state tree for two consecutive years and help the nation celebrate the holidays in one of our most recognizable national parks.” Callahan added, “The students are very excited to be a part of the America Celebrates display because they are a part of an American Presidential holiday tradition.”

The senior high art students have taken many top awards every year in the ND Jr. Duck Stamp Competition and for this reason the theme “North Dakota Snow Birds” was derived. The students said, “Drawing and painting birds is what we do best.”

The high school seniors from Valley City used a variety of mediums to create their North Dakota winter scenes on the inside of their ornaments, including snow covered barns, trees, grasses, branches and 3D clay birds. Students painted North Dakota birds on the outside of their ornaments.

Presented by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation, the National Christmas Tree Lighting is one of America’s oldest holiday traditions. The first lighting took place 95 years ago on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse.

For more event information and updates, please visit and follow the National Christmas Tree on Twitter at @TheNationalTree. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #NCTL2017. Through a partnership with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, Hallmark Channel will exclusively broadcast the National Christmas Tree Lighting on December 4, 2017.

Back row L to R: Tanner Thomsen, Jack Jordan, Noelle Thompson, Nita Warcken-Petersen and Patience King
Front row L to R: Allison Nelson, Hannah Aberle, Kayla Triebold, Hannah Dockter, Angela Larson and Emerson Meidinger
Not pictured: Shelby Thoreson

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