Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Christmas Tree, not Holiday Tree roundup.

Nation: The holiday tree backlash has begun! Updated as more stories come along.

Wash Times: House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert has told federal officials that the lighted, decorated tree on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol -- known in recent years as the "Holiday Tree" -- should be renamed the "Capitol Christmas Tree," as it was called until the late 1990s. The Capitol's senior landscape architect confirmed the name switch yesterday for The Washington Times. "It was known as the 'Holiday Tree' for several years and just recently was changed back to the 'Capitol Christmas Tree.' This was a directive from the speaker," said Capitol architect Matthew Evans. "The speaker believes a Christmas tree is a Christmas tree, and it is as simple as that," said Ron Bonjean, spokesman for the Illinois Republican. The Capitol tree, traditionally overshadowed by the White House's "National Christmas Tree," was renamed a "holiday tree" several years ago, according to the Capitol Architect's offices, in an effort to acknowledge the other holidays of Kwanzaa and Hanukkah -- although no one seemed to know exactly when the name was changed or by whom. Calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree has become a politically charged prospect in jurisdictions across the country -- from Boston to Sacramento and in dozens of communities in between.
Ottawa Citizen:Rideau Hall performed a rapid about-face on the name of its seasonal evergreen yesterday after a staff member called it a "holiday tree" in a CBC interview. "At Rideau Hall, we will be putting up a holiday tree as we find it reflects the traditions of many cultures, and it is inclusive," Rideau Hall spokeswoman Lucie Brosseau said. Not so fast. Soon after, in response to a query from the Citizen, Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean's spokesman said there had been a mistake. It was a Christmas tree after all. The Governor General had always intended for the tree to be of the Christmas variety, Randy Mylyk said, but there was an error by a "well-intentioned" employee. "In her life experience it was always a Christmas tree," said Mr. Mylyk of the Governor General, adding that at Rideau Hall the tree has always been called a "Christmas tree." "We've had a few calls," he said. "We spoke to Her Excellency and clearly, it was her intent that it was to be a Christmas tree."

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