Rhode Island to light 'Christmas tree' instead of 'holiday tree'

Dec. 2, 2013 at 6:20 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Monday the big evergreen to be lit up with festive lights in the Statehouse is a "Christmas tree," not a "holiday tree."

The use of "holiday tree" in invitations to the tree-lighting ceremony the past two seasons angered many constituents, and he wanted to avoid a three-peat, the governor said in a statement posted on his official website.

"In 2011, my first year celebrating December in the Statehouse I gave a simple six-word instruction to the planners of the annual tree lighting: 'Do what they did last year,' the governor wrote.

"Despite the myriad of pressing issues facing Rhode Island and the nation, this presumably happy event became a focal point for too much anger. Strangely lost in the brouhaha was any intellectual discussion of the liberties pioneered here in Rhode Island 350 years ago in our Charter.

"Because I do not think how we address the Statehouse tree affects our 'lively experiment,' this year's invitation calls the tree a Christmas tree."

Chafee said he would light the tree at a ceremony in the rotunda Thursday afternoon.

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