There's a heartwarming tradition behind it.

By Alexandra Lim-Chua Wee
November 08, 2018
rschlie / Getty Images

Hot cocoa won't be the only thing warming you up this holiday.

In the Golden State, where this year's official Christmas tree arrived at the Capitol just yesterday, preparations are well underway for the lighting ceremony next month-where a special visitor will help "flip the switch" to set the evergreen aglow. In carrying with the State Capitol's 36-year-old tradition, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and First Lady Anne Gust Brown will invite a child with developmental disabilities to the building steps to ring in the season.

Last year's guest of honor was Sofia Garcia, a 7-year-old with autism who loves drawing, painting, and playing make-believe, according to KTLA 5. Garcia represented over 300,000 individuals with developmental disabilities who receive support and services from the state's local development centers and over 20 regional non-profits. The lucky little one who will help light this year's tree has yet to be announced.

As for the tree, the 65-foot white fir was harvested from the Latour Demonstration State Forest near Redding earlier this week and arrived at the Capitol building in style: escorted down the interstate on a California Highway Patrol vehicle.

SEE: What Rockefeller Center's Christmas Tree Looks Like This Year

It's one of eight state forests managed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection totaling 71,000 luscious green acres; this year's tree is the fifth State Capitol tree to come from a Cal Fire forest. After setting up camp on the West Lawn in Sacramento, the tree will be decked out in 10,000 energy-efficient LED lights as well as hundreds of hand-crafted ornaments made by children and adults alike with developmental disabilities. Talk about the spirit of giving.

Feeling inspired? Watch how to DIY our beachy Christmas tree complete with coastal-inspired décor:


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