“It was like looking out at some terrifying homogenized, digitized vision of the future”


“Dear PoPville,

Can you please call attention to how awful the national tree experience is this year. Throughout the years, things have been taken away. First it was the reindeer. Next it was the yule log fire pit (that everyone loved!) And now it is as if the state trees have been taken away too. Thanks to sponsorship by Google, every state tree was exactly the same programmed lite brite looking robot tree. It was like looking out at some terrifying homogenized, digitized vision of the future. If you walked on, you found that the ornaments sent in by each state, which previously decorated the state trees, were given tree shaped wooden cutouts. And each state was not even given a whole one of those. They were split half one state and half the next state.

In years past, kids and adults would marvel at the flames from the yule log warming the group and providing reflection and conversation. Now kiosks are available for designing your own personalized national tree. So we get to go out with our family to stare at another screen. So much for bringing people together in public spaces. These places used to belong to us. Now just Google.”

32 Comment

  • I agree that it’s crazy google bought them all but it was actually to encourage kids to get into programming. During the ceremony and perhaps after kids were able to program a tree to display lights for 90 seconds each. They were told exactly when their program would run and on which tree. So it looks bad now but it was for a good cause.

  • I thought the Google trees were being programmed by coders every 10 seconds. I saw on the news that they were trying to get girls into coding so they let them control the tree lights for 10 seconds each.

  • I hate the screens everywhere too. They say it’s supposed to be “interactive” but it’s just more screens, more ways for people to ignore what’s going on around them. Why not let history speak for itself, smithsonian, hm?

  • “It was like looking out at some terrifying homogenized, digitized vision of the present”

  • Let the Architect of the Capitol know…..http://www.aoc.gov/

  • It’s really very sad. The tree is no longer something to go visit as it was in times past. I admire the attempt to attract kids – specifically girls – to programming, but I don’t think this is a successful effort at accomplishing that goal. Especially when you see how kids that were there really weren’t impressed. The national tree this year is strictly an ad for Google.

  • justinbc

    What an atrocity! Thanks for the irony of submitting this to a website.

  • It’s the war on Christmas. I blame the liberals and the leftist media.

  • This is so dumb.. STEM is important, I get it, we all get it. Yes we need to encourage girls. But gimme a break people. Its freakin’ christmas. Just let it be Christmas. Its not meant to alter the course of the US into technology.

  • I miss the Yule log.

  • What an atrocity! I wouldn’t pay a dime to see this display!

  • Mootje1

    This is ironic for me because last night, I was sent on a quest to video the Massachusetts tree for my mom’s friend’s classroom at 8:51pm. Her third grade kids were ecstatic that they were able to design a tree in front of the White House. They had no idea they would be able to actually see it lit-up.

    The response video that I received from their teacher this morning was hysterical (complete with homemade “Thank you” signs!). I understand what the poster is saying, but based on my experience with the kids, I think it’s great that more people have an opportunity to design their state tree, even if it is only a few seconds long, rather than just one school/community group/etc. The only thing I would suggest is somehow setting up video cameras so that people can tune in at their scheduled time and see their design, if they’re not lucky enough to have someone video it for them!

  • I Dont Get It

    Thanks Obama!

  • See what computers are doing to us?

  • Aww man. This sounds terrible, but I’ll go see for myself. The loss of the yule log SUCKS and I won’t get over that.. Is Santa’s house still there?

    • justinbc

      What is this log and why is everyone so attached to it? I thought the attraction was the big tree?

      • I Dont Get It

        It gets cold out there at night!

      • They used to dig a huge hole in the lawn and then burn nearly whole trees. It was always quite a sight at night… beautiful. Was also warm! something about a fire on a chilly night is pretty magical.

      • It’s a cozy, pretty fire pit. Every year, my BFF and I somehow end up seeing the tree on the coldest night of the year and the yule log is always a welcome pit stop. Freezing our arses off and warming up at the yule log is part of our tradition. LOL

      • You mean to tell me there is a tree under that cone?

  • Egad

    Is Santa going to be there this year? I know that kids can go through the workshop but it’s not clear if Santa will be there to take photos as in years past.

    • I’m very worried Santa is not there from the site. santa was sponsored in the past by UL. We have taken our daughter there to see Santa every year on Christmas Eve (past 6 years), so if anyone has further info, please post it. Thanks!

      • No Santa! We Went Friday late afternoon and so excited by the lack of lines- but of course that was because there is no Santa this year. IT should really be made clear on the website.

  • “Get yer’ code off my lawn you little whipper-snappers!!”

  • I have always thought the national christmas tree was an embarrassment. It’s a lighted net thrown over the tree. The City Center tree is much nicer.

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