WASHINGTON – If it’s a spruce tree adorned with 10,000 lights and 5,000 ornaments displayed on the Capitol grounds in December, it’s a Christmas tree, and that’s what it should be called, says House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
Hastert, R-Ill., in a letter to the Architect of the Capitol, recommended that the annual Capitol Holiday Tree, as it has been called the past several years, be renamed the Capitol Christmas Tree.
“I strongly urge that we return to this tradition and join the White House, countless other public institutions and millions of American families in celebrating the holiday season with a Christmas tree,” Hastert wrote to Architect Alan Hantman.
His office said the tree began to be referred to as the Holiday Tree in the 1990s. Spokesman Ron Bonjean said the reasons were unclear.
Hastert will flip the switch today to light the tree, a 65-foot Engelmann Spruce from the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico. On Tuesday workers were erecting the tree on the West Front of the Capitol.