Arizona Community Debates ‘Holiday’ Tree

It’s July and Queen Creek (Arizona) is already talking about Christmas.

That’s because last year the town’s annual holiday tree lighting event stirred up a community controversy — a debate over “Holiday Tree” versus “Christmas Tree.”

The “Holiday Tree” debate came despite the name being more than seven years old, a change made in 2000 to recognize the overall season, not just Christmas, Town Manager John Kross has said.

The clash drew more than 60 e-mails from town residents asking for the tree to be called a “Christmas Tree.”

On Tuesday the Town Council’s Recreation Advisory Board Holiday Festivities Sub-committee, which is dedicated to planning the town’s holiday festivities, asked the Town Council to call the celebration “Queen Creek Hometown Christmas.”

Committee member and Town Councilman Jeff Brown said he pushed for the name.

“I felt that specifically it captured what we’re looking to have this event do,” Brown said. “There are so many new people in town we’re basically establishing new traditions. I think it captures the warmth and the family nature of the holiday season.”

Brown said there was a lot of support for the name.

“It is a Christmas tree by definition,” he said. “It’s not a holiday tree. I put one up in my home and it’s never been called a holiday tree.”

Assistant parks and recreation director Creighton Wright said the recommended name will be run past the town’s attorney to make sure there are no legal concerns.

The committee members were also asked to make recommendations to the Town Council about the location of the holiday event and the lighting of the tree.

Wright said the sub-committee suggested moving the location of the event to the town’s new library which will open this fall. The committee recommended having a new live tree donated to the library location. Wright said the committee also wants to keep an emphasis on the tree in front of town hall. He said town staff will be doing research on the recommendations and will be working to figure out how to keep a “festive appearance” at the library and town hall.

The Town Council is expected vote on the sub-commitees recommendations at a meeting in August.

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