For decades, the national Christmas tree has been adorned with stars and lights, making a beautiful display a short distance from the White House. While many people are familiar with the sight, often only locals were aware of an accompanying Christmas tradition: a fire pit which burned “Ye Olde Yule Log.” The pit was fueled by enormous logs from the area, which created a bonfire so hot that the flames would burn purple and blue.
It was a beautiful sight, and instilled in viewers a sense of nostalgia, a wish for simpler times that had less to do with technology and more to do with a sense of community. But those who enjoyed the bonfire year after year were shocked to discover that this year, without any warning, the tradition was discontinued. The Washington Post reports in “The national yule log blazes no more” that the tradition was halted due to a change in plans for the holiday display. The bonfire “didn’t fit into the new site plan,” according to the manager of the park.
But the annual bonfire may not be gone for long. Although it was missing this year, visitors have already registered a number of complaints that may lead to the tradition being reinstated next year. In addition to nostalgic reasons, visitors mentioned that it was a good place to warm up while exploring the park in the middle of winter. Whatever their reasons, visitors have been vociferous in stating their wish to have the bonfire back, and manager has stated that the park will conduct a review after the holidays and decide whether to reinstate it for future years. For disappointed visitors this year, as least there is the hope that their complaints will be heeded, and tradition will continue as usual.