WASHINGTON – House Speaker Dennis Hastert has told federal officials that the lighted, decorated tree on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, known in recent years as the "Holiday Tree," should be renamed the "Capitol Christmas Tree."
The name change on Tuesday comes one day after the Engelmann spruce was delivered from New Mexico to Capitol Hill for decorations and displays until Jan. 2.
Hastert will light the tree, referred to as the "People's Tree" by the New Mexico-based committee that delivered it, during a ceremony on Dec. 8.
The re-named tree was called a Christmas Tree until the late 1990s, when it was changed to the name "Holiday Tree." The source of the name change in the 1990s is unclear, but this year's Web site could not be changed and still refers to it as a holiday tree.
Calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree has become a politically charged prospect in jurisdictions across the country, from Boston to Sacramento and in dozens of communities in between. The city of Boston changed the name of its Holiday Tree back to Christmas Tree after being threatened with several lawsuits.
While the political correctness has trapped some communities into taking the Christianity out of Christmas in order to accommodate the minority of Americans who don't celebrate the holiday, the White House continues to call its tree a Christmas Tree.
According to the 2001 Census, 76.7 percent of Americans identified themselves as some type of Christian while another 3.7 percent said they adhere to another religion. Almost 20 percent of respondents did not answer the question or said they had no religion.
Meanwhile, stripping the political correctness from the holiday season doesn't mean Capitol workers are not conscientiousness, said Architect of the Capitol Alan Hantman
"We're going to decorate it with lights as well, and for the first time this year with LEDs, to try to save some energy as well as giving it the sparkle and the wonderful presence that the tree deserves here in front of a United States Capitol," he said Monday as the tree arrived on the Capitol grounds.