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People lit up over calling Christmas tree 'holiday tree'


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- There is a big beautiful tree downtown just across from the federal courthouse, but what is it? When we ran a story about the lighting of the city's holiday tree, it lit up our web site with comments.

The name came from the city, which released this statement on the issue:

"The use of the word Holiday instead of Christmas has been an issue for governmental organizations across the country for the last several years. By using the word 'Holiday,' the City of Wilmington is trying to maintain a balancing act between the Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. We make every effort to be respectful of all beliefs and forms of celebration while also adhering To the law."

But the people we spoke with still prefer Christmas tree.

"I'd like to think that you can call it whatever you want as long as it means something to you. I do think that holiday tree is an over PC term," Ethan Sapp, a student at UNCW, said.

"They can call it what they want. It's my Christmas tree. That's what I call it," Wilmington resident Fred Smith said.

"It's a federal holiday. It's called Christmas. Even our own government recognizes this as being Christmas," John Keilbler of Wilmington said.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


It's Christmas!

The History of Christmas:

It is believed that the first celebrations of Christ's birth were originally grouped together with Epiphany, one of the earliest feasts of the Christian church observed on January 6. This holiday recognized the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles by remembering the visit of the Magi (wise men) to Bethlehem and, in some traditions, the baptism of Jesus and his miracle of turning water into wine. Today the feast of Epiphany is observed predominately in liturgical denominations such as Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Catholic.

Even as far back as the second and third centuries, we know church leaders disagreed about the appropriateness of birthday celebrations within the Christian church. Some men like Origen felt birthdays were pagan rituals for pagan gods. And since the date of Christ's actual birth had not been recorded, these early leaders speculated and argued about the date.

Some sources report that Theophilus of Antioch (circa 171-183) was the first to identify December 25 as the birth date of Christ. Others say that Hippolytus (circa 170-236) was the first to claim that Jesus was born on December 25. A strong theory suggests that this date was eventually chosen by the church because it aligned closely with a major pagan festival, dies natalis solis invicti (birth of the invincible sun god), thus allowing the church to claim a new celebration for Christianity.

Ultimately, December 25 was chosen, perhaps as early as A.D. 273. By 336 A.D., the Roman church calender definitively records a nativity celebration by Western Christians on this date. Eastern churches maintained the January 6 commemoration together with Epiphany until sometime in the fifth or sixth centuries when the 25th day of December became the widely accepted holiday. Only the Armenian church held to the original celebration of Christ's birth with Epiphany on January 6.
My family doesn't put itself in bondage every year with debt. We save pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and $1 bills in a very large jar all during the year. They add up to a nice amount by the end of the year, although we do sometimes add a little more if someone wants something special that costs more than what we saved. It's never enough to put us into heavy debt. We always remind our children that Jesus is the real reason for the season, and that they get gifts like Jesus was given gifts from the Magi. We don't worship a Christmas tree; we worship the living Christ. I see nothing wrong with decorating a tree with lights to remind us of his wonderful birth.....but rave on, if you must.

I don't understand why it is

I don't understand why it is so hard for some people to say "Christmas". That is exactly what it is. If asked what the "holiday" is, the answer would be "Christmas", so why not call it that? Even though I am not a follower of any organized religion, I am not offended by anyone practicing their own beliefs regardless of what it is. This is what America is all about, and to change the name of one of the most important days of the year to to stay within the guidelines of this so-called "political correctness" to appease a few idiots seems totally ridiculous to me. Merry Christmas to all......

it's christmas ! there is a

it's christmas ! there is a reason for the season. if the word christmas offends people they have way more issues than words. maybe if they worried more about why we have the holiday they wouldn't be so judgemental over words.

Christmas tree...

Well, maybe we should call Halloween Pumpkin Day since some object to the theme of the day..or maybe we should call Thanksgiving Day feast day since some do not believe in God, to Whom we give thanks...or, well , you get the point....


I am horribly offended that these PC bureaucrats would change the name of a long held tradition. This is truly offensive. I guess it is OK for me to be offended as long as some small minority is not offended. Why do my sensitivities take a back seat to some one else? Who writes the rules on whose sensitivities are coddled and whose are trashed? Sounds like discrimination to me.

Christmas tree

Calling a Christmas tree a holiday tree is just plain ignorant. Enough with the political correctness crap.


I wonder how the government changing it's designation of Dec. 24th and 25th from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to Holiday Eve and Holiday Day would go over with Americans? Hmmmm How about the renaming of Jewish Holidays with Generic names or maybe renaming some Muslim Holidays with Generic names. It is my CHRISTMAS TREE. Now if you do not celebrate Christmas, and I have friends that do not celebrate Christmas, I respect that, however when you do celebrate one of your religious holidays I will not demand you stop insulting me or forcing me to live through your holiday, such as it may be. I will wish all a Merry Christmas and if some of you choose to wish me Happy Holidays I will accept that too. It has a name and it is called "LIVE AND LET LIVE".

Oh, the city's statement is

Oh, the city's statement is just hilarious.

They can't have the gall to call a Christmas tree by its proper name, but they can take a LEGAL STATE HOLIDAY off for CHRISTMAS DAY. Not Holiday Day, not Seasonal Day, not Santa Day, not Liberal Crybaby Day, not Hanukkah.... CHRISTMAS DAY.

When the city employees and the Mayor work on Christmas, I'll take their PC gibberish spiel seriously. Even then, it's still ridiculous, because you don't call a Halloween costume a Holiday costume, you don't call a Hanukkah menorah a Holiday candlestick, and you don't call a Christmas tree a holiday tree. I'd rather the state just forfeit hosting this event than this nonsense.

The WHITE HOUSE has a "Christmas" tree. How is that not exactly the example the city would look to? The Supreme Court has ruled numerous times that Christmas trees are a legal icon of the secular Christmas season, and even that NATIVITY SCENES are legal to display if they are part of an OVERARCHING, OVERALL secular purpose. The city is embarrassingly politically correct... and so is all of America. Why are we ruining Christmas? Why are we making the best holiday on earth into a generic boring non-specific nothing?

so freaking stupid

"By using the word
'Holiday,' the City of Wilmington is trying to maintain a balancing act between the
Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. We make every
effort to be respectful of all beliefs and forms of celebration while also adhering
To the law.”

That's just ridiculous. By trying not to offend religions that don't celebrate Christmas they're taking a symbol of Christmas and reducing it to nothing. Just have NO tree if you don't want to offend. There's only ONE holiday with a tree and that's Christmas. I have come to loathe and despise the word "holiday" which, by the way, is derived from "holy day". Take that, you whiny, wimpy, spineless PC libs.