News & Politics

All Hail Tiny Timber, the Short King of Christmas in DC

The Christmas tree in Columbia Heights is small in size but big on holiday spirit.

Photo courtesy of District Bridges.

There are plenty of over-the-top, towering Christmas trees in DC. But this year’s belle of the Yuletide ball is more of a Cinderella story: Get to know Tiny Timber, the squat tree in Columbia Heights Civic Plaza. Small and currently undecorated, the arbor has grabbed the attention of Washingtonians curious about the somewhat-forlorn tree.

Photo courtesy of District Bridges.
Photo courtesy of District Bridges.

Surrounded by barricades in the plaza, the annual tree is arranged by District Bridges, an organization that works with small businesses and community members in DC’s Main Street program. Past pines have been taller and more robust than Tiny Timber, but there wasn’t a donor this year to help procure the tree, reports DCist. Subsequent supply issues lead to a slight discrepancy between the anticipated size and that of the one now living in the plaza.

The tree went up on Friday, but according to District Bridges executive director Brianne Dornbush, it was a Saturday post on meme account @washingtonianprobs that brought increased attention to its small size. “You don’t necessarily want your organization to be dragged on Washingtonian Probs,” says Dornbush. “But the opportunity was amazing to actually say, ‘we’re doing a lot of really incredible work here in the plaza.'”

Photo courtesy of District Bridges.
Photo courtesy of District Bridges.

While some may be disappointed by the petite conifer, I applaud Tiny Timber. Much like the short kings of yore—examples include actor Stanley Tucci (5′ 8″) and singer Bruno Mars (5′ 5″)—Tiny Timber bears a certain je ne sais quoi. Comparing the tree to other garish displays around town, one has to wonder: What are these other Christmas trees trying to prove? 

Like many late-bloomers, Tiny Timber has even faced bullying: The tree was knocked over on Wednesday, toppling onto its side. (Yes, Tiny Timber had a tiny timber.) Dornbush shares that the neighbors who notified District Bridges of the incident are from the community the non-profit works to serve—another sign that Tiny Timber is here to remind us of the true Christmas spirit.

Photo courtesy of District Bridges.
Photo courtesy of District Bridges.

Our short king has sparked a cult following, and there’s even Tiny Timber merch to show your holiday spirit. Watch Tiny Timber’s  tree lighting at 6:30 PM on Saturday, December 10, which will include a holiday market, Santa Claus, hot chocolate, and live music. For Dornbush, the story of Tiny Timber is also the story of District Bridges. “We’re a tiny nonprofit, and the work that we’re trying to do is massive,” she says. “Really, we’re trying to bring light to this community.”

 

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in NoMa.