Holiday Competition

My office is located within the State Capitol building, an archaic POS in the heart of ghetto Phoenix. During the holiday season, we try to muster up some enthusiasm by decorating the lobby with a monstrous Christmas tree in the center of the lobby, and a plastic menorah which sits on the reception desk.

I’m still not entirely sure where trees came into play in the spirit of Christmas, but clearly, this is a tradition that is tied to only one holiday. This year, however, the tree in our lobby, complete with garlands and colored lights, has been deemed the ‘Holiday Tree,’ as opposed to a Christmas Tree.

As someone who does not observe Christmas, I’m curious how this symbol has been extended to encompass other winter holidays. I don’t remember learning about pine trees being part of the festival of Hanukkah, but I may have played hooky from Hebrew School that week.

I do appreciate the government’s attempts to be all-inclusive and not exclude anyone from this glorious season, but it’s almost more demeaning to have your beliefs and customs lumped together with completely unrelated traditions, only to save face.

Local media has become entirely too amused with this issue of ‘taking the Christ out of Christmas,’ yes that was the actual quote a heard from the lips of a local morning DJ. The excerpt below is from an article that was published in several local papers. I assume from the author’s name that he’s Jewish, and thereby aligned with my sentiments, but we all know what assumptions can do. After all, someone assumed it was appropriate to take the Christ out of government-issued Christmas trees.
Published: 11.29.2007

Napolitano pulls Christmas from AZ ‘Holiday Tree’
By Howard Fischer
PHOENIX — What do you call the big green thing decked with colored lights, balls and doves in the lobby of state Capitol tower? Well, if you’re the governor, you don’t call it a Christmas tree. Instead, Janet Napolitano proclaimed it the “Holiday Tree.”
“I think we’re celebrating a number of holidays,” the governor responded Wednesday, while acknowledging that only one religion — Christianity — has a holiday associated with a tree.
“You can call it whatever you want,” she responded. The “holiday tree” name met with amusement from Secretary of State Jan Brewer who, like Napolitano, has her office in the Capitol tower. “It’s a Christmas tree,” she said while passing by the display. “Who are you trying to kid?”



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