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Fifty-six schools will create ornaments to accompany the National Christmas Tree in Washington D.C.

Out of all of the schools in New Jersey, Ocean City High School was selected to create 24 ornaments to decorate the New Jersey tree in Washington D.C.

Each student was given a county in New Jersey to represent when decorating the ornament. Along with the county, students had to keep their ornaments in the theme of NJ & You — Our Garden State with a concentration of the environment specifics in their given county.

In their ornaments they had to include elements such as a photo of themselves, a map of the county, an important historical element of the county, county flag or seal and more. The ornaments will be ready for the nation to see by Dec. 1.

Fifty-six schools across the country are creating one-of-a-kind ornaments for the 2018 National Christmas Tree experience on the Ellipse in President’s Park in Washington, D.C. These handcrafted ornaments will adorn 56 smaller trees that surround the National Christmas Tree. The 56 trees represent each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia as part of the America Celebrates display.

The America Celebrates display is one of the highlights of the National Christmas Tree experience, which will begin Nov. 28 with the 96th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Each school will create ornaments that celebrate its state, district or territory.

Through a partnership with the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Education worked with state art and education agencies to identify middle and high schools whose students would create the ornaments. The project is funded by the National Park Foundation.

The National Christmas Tree Lighting has strong ties to education. In 1923, a letter arrived at the White House from the District of Columbia Public Schools proposing that a decorated Christmas tree be placed on the South Lawn of the White House. On Christmas Eve that year, President Calvin Coolidge walked from the Oval Office to the Ellipse and pushed a button that lit the first National Christmas Tree. It was a 48-foot fir donated by Middlebury College in Vermont.

Today’s National Christmas Tree is a living Colorado blue spruce from Virginia, which can be viewed year-round in President’s Park. This year’s National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will kick off the holiday season with live musical performances, special guests and the official lighting of the National Christmas Tree. The festivities continue with a daily lighting of the National Christmas Tree, free evening musical performances and a chance to see the 56 state, district and territory trees and their ornaments up close from Dec. 1 through Jan. 1.

For more event information and updates, see thenationaltree.org and follow the National Christmas Tree on Twitter at @TheNationalTree. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #NCTL2018.

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