White House Will Not Accept Christmas Ornaments With Religious Themes-Fiction!

White House Will Not Accept Christmas Ornaments With Religious Themes-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

A forwarded email that says that the White House sent a letter saying that they will no longer be accepting ornaments with religious themes for the various Christmas trees that will decorate the Executive Mansion during the holiday season.   The email also said that White House  Christmas trees will now be called “Holiday Trees.”

The Truth:

A spokesperson at the White House told TruthorFiction.com that no such letter came from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC.

This eRumor may have been sparked in 2009 by a project with the U.S.D.A. Forest Service in Arizona in connection with the nation’s Christmas tree that is destined for the National Mall in Washington, D.C..

Each year one of the 50 states contributes a huge tree for the occasion.   In 2009, the Christmas tree was an 85-foot blue spruce from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in Arizona.

As a part of the project, the Forest Service invited elementary students to send in 5,000 hand-made ornaments for the tree.

The Alliance Defense Fund, which defends religious liberties, said that initial instructions for the students specified that the ornaments needed to be 9-12 inches tall, able to endure cold winter weather, include a loop of wire for hanging, be able to be seen at least 75 feet away, and could “not reflect religious or political themes.”

An outcry of protest resulted and the Forest Service rescinded the prohibition of religious themes saying that it was a mistake that it was ever communicated that way

A spokesperson for the Alliance Defense Fund told TruthorFiction.com that it program organizers that “The First Amendment does not allow government officials to exclude schoolchildren’s ornaments for the capitol’s Christmas tree merely because they communicate a religious viewpoint.”

Jim Payne, a U.S.D.A. Forest Service spokesman, said that the guidelines came from” old information posted on the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree website and has since been removed.” Payne added that weather proofing and size are the only restrictions for the submitted ornaments.

The Forest Service has the criteria for Christmas Ornaments posted on their website:  Click for U.S.D.A Forest Service site. 

Christmas at the White House is annual tradition and each year volunteers assemble to deck the halls.

Each year smaller Christmas trees are delivered to the White House to add to the holiday decoration throughout the mansion as well as one large tree to be placed and decorated in the Blue Room.  The 2010 Christmas tree, an 18 1/2 foot Pennsylvania grown Douglas Fir, was delivered to the Executive Mansion on November 26th.

Official White House Vide of the 2010 Christmas Tree arrival

updated 12/17/10