Mississippi artist hand crafts ornaments to accompany the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C.

JACKSON, Miss. — Ornaments by a local Mississippi artist will dazzle President’s Park (White House) in Washington, D.C. as part of the 95th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting display. Teresa Haygood from Jackson, MS, designed ornaments that showcase artistic, architectural, cultural and historic elements of Mississippi’s major regions in glittering mosaic globes.

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

“It is an honor to decorate my home state tree and help the nation celebrate the holidays in one of our most recognizable national parks, especially during Mississippi’s bicentennial year,” said Teresa Haygood, mosaic artist tapped by the Mississippi Arts Commission to represent the state. “I am excited to be a part of the America Celebrates display because I see it as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on Mississippi’s proud tradition of artistic excellence.”

Haygood decorated globes provided by the National Park Service with glass mosaic on the outside surface of each sphere using tiny pieces of opaque and translucent stained glass that allow light to shine through and illuminate the designs, some of which overlap and create an interesting artistic effect.

Each of her ornaments tells a story about an aspect of the state or a particular region. One ornament commemorates Mississippi’s bicentennial year; another depicts a magnolia flower in honor of the “Magnolia State.” Among other design inspirations are Elvis Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo, Miss, the Choctaw symbol for happiness and “the crossroads” of Highways 61 and 49 where blues legend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to gain success.

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. Since 1923, each succeeding president has carried on the tradition.

For more event information and updates, please visit www.thenationaltree.org 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.

Contact: Shelby Galvin, Shelby_galvin@nps.gov, 202-619-7400

Contact:  Anna Ehrgott, Mississippi Arts Commission Communications Director, aehrgott@arts.ms.gov, (601) 359-6546