Actually, it is a "holiday tree"
Thank you, Gov. Lincoln Chafee, for saying what I've been thinking all along: All those decorated trees adorning statehouse lawns and malls and New York's Rockefeller Center are indeed, holiday trees. If they were actually Christmas trees, they wouldn't be up yet--because it's still Advent.
Seriously, rather than having a caniption over Chafee's designation of the said conifer, I think all us Christians, Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin included, should be pointing out the difference between the religious festivals of Advent and Christmas and "the holidays," that lovely period between Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rose Bowl, when Americans impossibly ramp up their consumption even further. I mean, it's fun and all, but that's not Christmas, much less Advent.
Even megapastor Rick Warren was on the bandwagon about this today, tweeting
With all due respect to Rick, those stores already did start their own "holidays." Besides I don't want Baby Jesus within 10 miles of Walmart, especially not when the Advent Jesus might appear at any moment to kick our butts for not taking care of the poor.
Don't get me wrong: I enjoy "the holidays," but they aren't the same thing as Advent and Christmas, even if they did morph out of them through some clever combination of wealth and marketing.
But I'm delighted that now the trees we all adopted from pre-Christian Germany can have their own separate meanings. Rockefeller Center's can be all about the Rockettes and Santa Claus. Mine is an echo of the Tree of Life, which bore a new bloom one ancient morning in faraway Bethlehem.