Name That Tree!

I guess we shouldn’t call it a “Christmas” tree.

A press release from the Selectman’s Office notes only that the town’s “annual tree lighting” ceremony will take place at Town Hall this Thursday (November 29, 5 p.m.).

Of course, the tree to be lit is a fir tree. You connect the dots.

It’s a fun, festive, kid-friendly event. The Staples High School Orphenians sing “seasonal” songs.

First Selectman Jim Marpe — and a bunch of little kids — lit the tree in front of Town Hall last year. Then came photo opps.

Speaking of Town Hall trees, this year the “Heritage Tree” — a longtime fixture in the building’s lobby — moves across Myrtle Avenue to the Westport Historical Society.

Each year, local artists add ornaments (yes, it’s that kind of tree). Past contributors include Mel Casson, Randy Enos, Stevan Dohanos, Hardie Gramatky, Howard Munce, Jim Sharpe, Leonard Everett Fisher, Jean Woodham and Hilda Kraus.

This year’s ornament comes courtesy of Victoria Kann. The author/illustrator of the popular “Pinkalicious” book series is a longtime Westporter.

Kids can help decorate the Heritage Tree this Saturday (December 1, 1 p.m.). Kann will read from one of her holiday-themed books (and sign them). Snacks will be served too.

The Heritage Tree — shown last year in the Town Hall lobby — moves across the street to the Westport Historical Society.

The next day — Sunday, December 2 — another tree lighting takes place. It’s at the Saugatuck Center plaza, between Saugatuck Sweets and The Whelk. Everyone is asked to bring unwrapped toys for children 10 and under. Al’s Angels wrap and deliver them to needy kids.

It’s set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Santa arrives at 5:15 — so I’m on safe ground calling this an actual “Christmas” tree lighting.

And the 28th annual Tree of Light ceremony will be held Thursday, December 6, at 6:30 p.m. It honors the memories of family members and friends who have died.

The site is Saugatuck Congregational Church. So, yeah: That’s a Christmas tree lighting too.

7 responses to “Name That Tree!

  1. It’s a Christmas Tree, period. A great national
    Holiday tradition that should be immune from political correctness.
    If you’re offended, too bad.

  2. Can someone pls explain to me why in the past 10 years, we pretend that “Christmas” isn’t happening by removing it from obvious, factual situations such as this town tree? What is the issue? How could anyone be offended since it is indeed a Christmas tree? The town also displays a menorah (or do we call it a candelabra now?!), and I’m sure Westport would include other symbols of other faiths – as we should. But let’s not change the name and make things even more generic than they’ve become in recent years. No wonder our young have lost touch with our roots and how our diversity has made us the town we are today.

  3. Dan, The annual Tree of Light ceremony at Saugatuck Church (Christ & Holy Trinity has hosted other years, too) honors the memory of family members and friends who have died. The holidays, another year looming, longer darker days, and the loss of loved ones make this time of year especially difficult. This remembrance service, is hosted by Visiting Nurse Services of Connecticut (VNS). Any and all are invited to participate in the candle and tree lighting, memorial roll, and the brief reception indoors that generally follows the ceremony. It is a non-denominational ceremony and takes place in 10 other communities throughout Fairfield County. And the tree is anything but Christmas. So if we need to “Name that Tree,” simply calling it a “Tree of Light” sounds pretty right to me.

    • A tree lightening in December is a Christmas tree, here and throughout much of the world. Let’s teach our children to honor and embrace our cultural diversity rather than water down the traditions of our melting pot nation. As another commenter said should we say Menorah or candleabra?

  4. Dan, I should have addressed my comment more in accordance with yours.
    Many non-religious events take place in our various places of worship. Having this little ceremony at a church doesn’t signify a religious observance. It really is non-denominational. But if you go, bundle up, it’s always cold!

  5. Call it a Christmas Tree. Because it is a Christmas Tree..

  6. I’m with Dave…it’s a friggin Christmas tree🎄