Holiday Tree Installed on State Street

Holiday Tree installed at the intersection of Victoria and State Streets (Photo by an edhat reader)

The annual State Street holiday tree was installed in downtown Santa Barbara this past weekend.

The 36-foot tree arrived on Wednesday and was set up in its usual spot on State Street in front of the Arlington Theatre, near the intersection of Victoria Street.

Onlookers stopped to watch the large crane hoist the Oregon tree into place.

The official tree lighting ceremony will take place on December 1st with a block party hosted by the Downtown Organization from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Santa will be in attendance for photos, there will be live performances, music by DJ Darla Bea, vendors, wreath making, and an appearance by the Holiday Prince & Fairy. The event is sponsored by Consumer Fire Products, Inc.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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  1. What is a holiday tree? This is so absurd to not call it what it is. It would be like calling a menorah a holiday candelabra. What’s next the holiday rabbit with colorful eggs? Or the the very flat bread that’s really a cracker? I am not religious and not offended by Christmas trees. If it were up to me I’d call it a Winter Solstice Tree, but it’s not up to me and that’s not what it is.

    • Do other cultures use a tree as part of their winter holidays? If so, “Holiday Tree” makes sense I guess. If not, then calling it a “Christmas tree” shouldn’t be an issue as long as other cultures and religions are also represented by the City.

      • This is a sensible reply. The city could be inclusive by celebrating the holidays of its citizens (Christmas, Hanukkah, whatever). There’s no need to rename the elements of the celebration to head off some anticipated, probably spurious offense.

          • Does the “Holiday Parade” also have menorahs, Kwanza symbols, etc? If not, it should. Sure, most of the US celebrates Christmas with Santa and presents, but I can understand people who don’t being upset that the City only erects a “Christmas Tree” during the winter holidays.

            Then again, there’s really only one accurate term to describe a large pine tree with lights and ornaments…..

            So make it inclusive for all and with the “State Street Christmas Tree,” also include the “Mission Street Menorah” and the “Cabrillo Kinara” and then allow representation of all in the “Holiday Parade.” So freaking simple. Include all and keep the traditional names of all symbols. No need to invent new names if everyone is represented. How is this so hard?

            • No, because the holiday parade and the holiday season–which stretches from Thanksgiving to New Year–are *secular*. And when it comes to government functions there’s this thing called “the Establishment clause”.

              • Dalgorf – a parade isn’t really a government function, at least it shouldn’t be. A parade is made up of private organizations, not a government affair. The City only grants permits for entrants in the parade. To deny a group because they have religious symbols would be counter to the 1st Amendment.

                I’m pretty sure I’ve seen plenty of religious and cultural symbols in parades. They shouldn’t be barred from the parade simply for being religious.

    • If you really want to call it what it is, then call it a Saturnalia or a Solstice tree.

      People have been using evergreens inside and out of homes to celebrate winter solstice for a very long time, and “Christmas” trees are simply decorations which originated before Christianity. How about calling it a solstice tree? That’s the original meaning of it, so it’s not absurd at all, you just don’t know the history.

      Personally, no I don’t want my tax dollars going to support ANY religious holiday decoration.

      • My thing is, call it what it is, a “Christmas Tree,” but ALSO include symbols/accessories/caricatures, etc of all the other winter holiday traditions and religions.

        If you include everyone else, you can continue to call it what it is without people being offended. Well, theoretically, of course. Some people will be offended no matter what you do.

        • It’s not a Christmas Tree, it’s “the State Street tree”. No, really, it is.

          Remember, the word “nice” used to mean “stupid”, but it no longer does. Things change, and the holiday season is now a heavily commercialized secular period of frenzied shopping between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. (Also there’s wassailing and other activities reflecting pagan traditions that were appropriated by Christianity but have largely been reclaimed.)

    • “If it were up to me I’d call it a Winter Solstice Tree, but it’s not up to me and that’s not what it is.”

      A fascinating contradiction — if you think that’s not what it is then surely you wouldn’t call it that if it were up to you.

      It’s up to the city, and the city calls it “the State Street tree”, which is what it is because that’s what they call it. (See, that’s consistent.)

  2. Though of course trees are traditionally part of Christmas celebrations, there is nothing in the Bible about marking Christ’s birth with a decorated tree. I’m okay with calling it a holiday tree because there are many of us who grew up with the tree and Santa version of Christmas, but aren’t (and never were) Christian.

  3. sbparksandrec called it “the State Street tree”. It’s Edhat Staff who innocently misnamed it “The annual State Street holiday tree”, which is descriptive because it is there throughout the holiday season (which stretches from Thanksgiving to New Year, at least). So the sophists and right wing propagandists (the so-called “war on Christmas” was invented by Bill O’Reilly as part of the one-sided “culture war” waged by right wingers against humanity ) are as usual misdirecting their faux outrage at “the city” when it is Edhat staff that they should be directing it at for the dastardly act of using the word “holiday” to refer to a festive holiday season tree that does not specifically celebrate the birth of Christ (which did not in fact fall on December 25 or even in December–that date comes from pagan ritual) or any other icon of some religious dogma and does not have the standard Christmas tree angel at the top nor traditional Christmas tree ornaments and is quite different from traditional Christmas trees because it’s, like, *really* big.

    Happy Holidays, everyone!

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