Chicago's Holiday Tree 2011: Holiday Tree or Christmas Tree?

Chicago's Holiday Tree 2011: Holiday Tree or Christmas Tree?
Chicago's New Holiday Tree 2011 on Daley Plaza.

Chicago, Friday, November 25, 2011. This week, Chicago's new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, flipped the switch--a double switch of sorts--on the 97-year-old tradition of Chicago's official Christmas tree.   The first switch, which occurred quietly earlier in the week, was a name switch.  Chicago's official Christmas tree is now a holiday tree. The second switch took place at dusk on Wednesday when Emanuel flipped the switch that turned the lights on Chicago's first holiday tree at the official tree lighting ceremony on Daley Plaza.  Although the switch may be difficult for some--even the mayor, who is responsible for the change, stumbled just before flipping the switch when he referred to the holiday tree as a "Christmas Tree"--most of us will get used to it.  Just as Marshall Field's is now Macy's: Comiskey Park is now U.S. Cellular Field and the Shubert Theater has been renamed the Bank of America Theatre-- this too will pass, maybe.

Outwardly the trees look the same, but there is a difference.  To some, the difference matters. There are those who believe that the holiday tree is more inclusive, a tree that all can enjoy no matter their religion or beliefs. There are others, who believe that the tree should remain part of the Christian tradition and be called a Christmas Tree.

While Chicago now has an official holiday tree, just north of the border, Wisconsin now has an official "Christmas tree"--thanks or no thanks to Governor Scott Walker.  Walker decided, after the 25-year history of having an official holiday tree in the Capital Rotunda, that it will now be called a Christmas tree.

What do you think--or do you care?


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  • I think it is a small, but nice gesture to acknowledge that everyone doesn't celebrate Christmas.

  • I for one will call it a Christmas Tree. If you really don't want to call it what it is maybe you shouldn't be celebrating Christmas. It is a Christian Holiday and as a Christian we should be able to celebrate and call it what it is without feeling like we are wrong for calling it what it is. Its just like saying Merry Christmas thats what we should be saying. You will never get me to take Christ out of Christmas no way no how.

  • In reply to David:

    As a former debater I can see arguments for both sides. However, I am concerned that if we continue to call the tree a Christmas tree in our more and more pc society that the question of separation of church and state will come even more into play--and we may end up without an "official" city tree.

  • To me, calling it a "Holiday Tree" makes about as much sense as calling the Menorah a "Holiday Candelabra."

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