Shimmering ornaments and ruby red ribbons adorn the Victorian Tree in downtown Eau Claire, which has been a tradition for more than 100 years. The Christmas tree has long been a holiday symbol, and how people refer to it has also been the same...
"We've always had Christmas trees and that's what they've been known as,"said an Eau Claire woman.
For many people Christmas trees mark a holiday tradition. But some feel that the title, Christmas, is inappropriate especially if a tree is on public property.
"I think it would be much more inclusive of all the non-Christians in the country if it were called a holiday tree," said David Gordon, an emeriti professor from U-W Eau Claire.
He believes that the Christmas tree becomes a problem only if it is referred to as a religious symbol in a public setting.
For ten years, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has placed signs in the state capitol to protest the tree as displaying a religious overtone. But one Eau Claire man thinks otherwise.
"I don't know if religion has to do with a Christmas tree. It's a tree that's been called a Christmas tree since before I was around," said James Friday.
Governor Jim Doyle spoke on behalf of the on-going debate that lingers in Wisconsin. He calls it a Christmas tree but tells people to call the tree that stands in the capitol whatever is important to them.
"It's time for us all to get along and I think if they want to call it a Christmas tree, they can call it a Christmas tree,"said Governor Doyle.
Christmas tree or holiday tree, the debate is becoming another annual winter tradition.