In Lafayette Park, north of the White House, two Fraser fir trees were planted, in 1934, on the east and west sides of the Jackson Statue in hopes that they would be used in alternate years. President Franklin D. Roosevelt never missed the ceremony nor the opportunity to deliver a Christmas Eve message heard by radio listeners coast to coast. During one on the lighting ceremonies the President repeated pushed the button only to have the tree remain dark. Newspapers later reported the button pushed by the President actually signaled an electrician (stationed down a manhole under the street) to light the tree.
History of National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies