National Harbor

The Tree is the Thing!

By Lani Gering

Gaylord Christmas 018

The Tree is the Thing!!


As most of our regular readers know, we have enjoyed the 65 foot glass Christmas tree in the Atrium of the Gaylord Resort for the past several years and to be honest, I was a little sad when my friend Rachel at the hotel told me it was being replaced this year. I was a little suspect about what they could do to top that beautiful piece of art. Well…..they definitely made a great choice when they picked the Starlight Tree. At first glance, it sort of looks like something that the Jetson’s (for those of you that aren’t old enough to remember them, use your google app) would have in their house. I will admit that until I saw all of the “tricks” that it does I was a little disappointed at it’s far from “traditional” appearance. Those thoughts quickly dissipated when the light show began. It is fantastic! The photos featured here don’t do it justice by any means but will hopefully encourage you to go check it out. You won’t be disappointed!


The Starlight Tree is a 55-foot suspended Christmas tree located in the 19-story atrium. The tree was custom-designed by Hotopp Associates, the same designers of the resort’s famous ICE! attraction. It weighs nearly 4,000 pounds and is comprised of 50 five-point stars, inspired by Washington DC Americana and is representative of the 50 states of America. The tree topper displays one large star – signifying the Capital – a small cluster of stars pay homage to the deco liberty coin.


The body of the tree consists of 11 star tiers wrapped in altering handmade texturized green fabrics, finished with a metallic shine to play off both the natural lighting in the hotel’s atrium and evening light show. The tiers are decorated with four-foot, vertical stars that can alter colors and effects.


Gaylord Christmas 023Starlight Christmas Tree also features a unique aluminum garland that illuminates to give the tree an animated effect that changes from day to night.


“The garland was designed to be the star of the show,” said Todd Nordling, Concept Designer at Hotopp Associates. “It features 2,100 video nodes that produce infinite possibilities of lighting.”


Hotopp collaborated with both TenFab on the fabric and Chicago Scenic Studios on the construction to build and assemble the Starlight Christmas Tree. It took them at total of five weeks and 50 employees to complete the tree in Chicago, Illinois.


The new Christmas tree will be the star of the hotel’s nightly holiday fountain show, Sounds and Songs of Christmas, at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. during its “Christmas on the Potomac” celebration through January 3rd.


NH - ICE slide (1)As always, the ICE production is another hit this year. The “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” theme is another good one. I really am a sucker for this kind of stuff and only wish my 6 year old great nephew lived closer so I could take him for the experience! I finally figured out the trick to going down the ICE Slide this year – lean way back and lift your feet up!!


We are very lucky to live in an area that has such unique things to do throughout Christmas and the holiday season! Please see the Gaylord ad on the inside back cover for information on all of the “Christmas on the Potomac” events. They are offering all sorts of fun packages that make the experience a little easier on the wallet than in the past.


Also, lots going on around the Harbor from no until New Year’s. Check out the calendar in this section. One of my favorite things are the firepits located throughout the harbor that offer up a warming flame and a place to sit outside and enjoy the season.


Don’t forget to stop in to Stonewall Kitchen and sample their wares and pick up the perfect hostess/host gift for those parties you will be attending as well as just great things for the foodies on your shopping list.


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!National Harbor Lani


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