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Township's Holiday Tree Lighting Scheduled

Gloucester Township's annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony is set for Dec. 16.

Gloucester Township's annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony will take place the evening of Sunday, Dec. 16.

The event, held at Lt. Col. Samuel M. Siler Veterans Memorial Park, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

It will mark the third straight year Mayor David Mayer and members of Township Council have been joined by community members to light up the tree at the joint entrance to the park and Chews Landing Road municipal complex.

Mayer invited the public to attend the tree-lighting ceremony during Monday night's Council meeting.

For the 2011 tree-lighting ceremony, Blackwood-based Mainstage Center for the Arts' Harmony and Encore choirs performed Christmas favorites.

Dec. 16 marks the close of Hanukkah this year.

Sean McCullen (Editor) November 28, 2012 at 06:38 PM
We just received word from Mainstage that the Harmony and Encore choirs will again perform for the tree-lighting ceremony. Thank you to Stacy Napolitano for getting back to us!
K Peters November 28, 2012 at 08:58 PM
The "holiday" tree is actually a Christmas tree. Do you think if you say "holiday tree' often enough or long enough we will forget it's a Christmas tree?
Michelle Wolfson November 28, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I get your point "K". But why such offense? Who cares what it is called. Christmas is in fact a "holiday". Can't it be a tree for all holiday celebrators? Or is it only being erected for those who celebrate Christmas?
Michelle Wolfson November 28, 2012 at 10:01 PM
My kids had a really nice time at last year's tree lighting.
Schu November 28, 2012 at 10:16 PM
What is a holiday tree?
GTWatchdawg November 28, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Merry Christmas not Merry Holiday. Same as Christmas TREE. Michelle.....it's time to end the madness. Call things what they are. THAT is "politically correct" WE care what it is called.
Jeff November 29, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Hmmm... This is a tough one. I'm trying to figure out what's sillier... Calling it a "Holiday Tree" or complaining about calling it a "Holiday Tree." I'm afraid I'll be losing sleep tonight.
Michelle Wolfson November 29, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Again, the point is that while it is true that a "Christmas tree" is erected to celebrate Christmas, who says that this tree is being erected just for the celebration of Christmas. That is what makes it a holiday tree. It is being put up as a celebratory holiday symbol for ALL people, celebrating ALL holidays to enjoy. I could understand calling it a Christmas tree if you we're to have a Chaunakah Menorah, a Kwanzaa Kenarah etc erected beside it- but since the tree is being utilized as a symbol for all those holidays being celebrated my residents, than it is in fact, a "holiday" tree. I suggest if you want a Christmas tree, and celebrate Christmas, do what I do and put one up in your living room.
Michelle Wolfson November 29, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Okay. So who is "we"?
Michelle Wolfson November 29, 2012 at 05:41 AM
If we skipped the tree symbol and decided to just string some lights around the gazebo as a holiday gesture, would it be okay to call it a holiday gazebo? Or would we have to call it a Christmas gazebo?
N/A November 29, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Michael Wolfstien I like many others take offense to calling things anything other then what they are. It's a Christmas Tree. There is no such thing as a holiday tree. The Christmas tree is a symbol of the catholic religion, It calibrates the birth of Christ. It has been proven historically Christ did live among us this celebrates his birthday, Period! If people don't believe in Christmas they should not be offended that other people do. If people don't believe in something they should not participate in the activities that others who do believe participate in. For example If someone does not believe in abortion would they all the sudden go out and have one if you changed the name to "forced early delivery of a fetus"? Changing the name does not change the event. Christmas is Christmas if people don't believe they should not demand everyone else who does believe, needs to change the name of the event just so they can participate.
Paul J. DiBartolo November 29, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Okay, Michelle, I'll bite...exactly which holidays use a tree as a symbol for celebration at this time of year? Hanukkah, or Chanukah, will be celebrated this year from December 8th through December 16th. The main Hanukkah symbol is the Menorah. A Dreidel is also mentioned but it is used in a type of game of remembrance. Kwanzaa, established in 1966, will be celebrated from December 26th through January 1st. The main Kwanzaa symbols include a decorative mat upon which can be placed corn and/or other crops, a Kinara - a candle holder with 7 candles, and a "communal cup" for pouring out libations. The point is that neither of these celebrations (am I missing any?) makes any reference to a decorative tree. So, exactly how is it that a Christmas Tree represents anything but the celebration of Christmas? The fact is that people with an agenda are against any mention of Christianity in the public square and this is an attempt to essentially "dumb it down" by dropping the reference to Christmas and calling the symbol a "holiday tree" when, in fact, the only holiday it represents is Christmas.
N/A November 29, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Why should people who believe need to change the name of the biggest holiday in the history of the world to cower down to atheists? What's next do you want to change the name of independence day to hooligans revolt day? Ridiculous right? Or Yom Kippur to "Forgive me for what I did and will do day?" NO! We would never ask the Jewish religion to do that it would be sacrilege and demanding people remove the name Christmas from a symbol of the Catholic, Prodistant and many other Religion's beliefs is the same thing. Actually it is worse because people like you are saying there religious beliefs are "No big deal" and you are aligning with those demanding people who believe a religion should change the name of a symbol of its beliefs. That is nothing less then sacrilegious. Why are non believers so offended by the believers. Changing the name of Christmas does not serve a purpose. If people don't believe stay home! Don't participate in something you don't believe in! Don't demand the believers accommodate the non believers! Maybe just maybe this belief people have that everyone has to be politically correct is just going a bit to far.
Michelle Wolfson November 29, 2012 at 02:45 PM
N/A I can always count on you for some delightful insight. Thanks. You seem to have gotten my name wrong though. Maybe you haven't had your morning coffee yet? Forgot your glasses? Or perhaps that was thinly veiled attempt at anti-semitism? Or maybe you just forgot how to spell? In any case, thanks for the history and religion lesson. I was raised in a Roman Catholic household though, so I am farmiliar with the tenets of Catholicism.
Michelle Wolfson November 29, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Paul, I completely understand the symbolism, but just bear with me here. And then I'd like to hear what you have to say. If we put up a Christmas tree in the center of town and call it a Christmas tree, that's fine. But then do we not also need to erect symbols of the holidays celebrated by other residents of this town? Or is it just majority rule? Well, the town has more Christians than anything else, so let's just acknowledge their holiday and forget the rest. It is my contention that the tree (while historically symbolic of the Christmas holiday) is being used as a non denominational symbol by the township to represent the entire holiday season for all of it's residents. Maybe sometimes a tree is just a tree.
True Dat November 29, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Well played, Michelle. You managed to draw comments from both ends of the crazy crowd.
Michelle Wolfson November 29, 2012 at 02:54 PM
And N/A- it is a pretty bold statement to say that just because someone doesn't believe your line of thinking they are "non-believers".
Michelle Wolfson November 29, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Hey I am all about unity- especially around the holidays. I managed to unite people, who are generally at each other's throats in this venue, to align against me for a common cause. Naturally, this was my plan all along. I can leave this discussion now. :-) Happy Holidays!
Paul J. DiBartolo November 29, 2012 at 04:07 PM
So, we are all so thin-skinned that we have to call a Christmas Tree a holiday tree so no one gets offended. If I were Jewish and some one tried to imply that a Christmas Tree was the representative symbol for Hanukkah and that was accomplished by calling a Christmas Tree a holiday tree, I hope I would be intelligent enough to see through that sham. I know, let's take a Menorah, trash the information about what it really means, and call it a Holiday Candle Grouping and say that it represents the celebration of Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. And while we're at it, let's re-name Santa Claus, because we all know what he represents, to Mr. Hal Aday and run him around town on a fire truck. You want to know my fix? If a Christmas Tree offends enough people such that we think it's a problem, let's get rid of it in town. Instead we can shoot off fireworks; that should be generic enough for everyone's tastes. We can still all do and say whatever we want at home, right? Or is that going to be a problem, as well?
Paul J. DiBartolo November 29, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I guess we're to believe that you're the picture of moderation and sanity, Head, whoever you are. Oh, my sides hurt from laughing so hard.
Paul J. DiBartolo November 29, 2012 at 04:10 PM
You misread me, Michelle. I don't think I could care much less about a Christmas Tree in town. I was going after your explanation which had no basis in the reality of the situation. I'd rather get rid of something before we lie to ourselves about what it means and water it down so badly that it means nothing anyway.
Paul J. DiBartolo November 29, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Hey, Michelle, he...she...shim...whomever N/A is, didn't get your name wrong, that was done purposely. Why, I'm not sure, but you can be assured it was planned that way.
Michelle Wolfson November 29, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Oh I realize that Paul. N/A seems to believe that the world revolves around him and his beliefs. It's okay. He knows who I am and is welcome to address me in person if ever he wished to stand behind his words, which will be, you know, never.
Michelle Wolfson November 29, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I get it Paul, really. What I am trying to say is -okay FINE call it a Christmas tree if you want. But then where is the representation for other holidays? I celebrate Christmas, so it doesn't bother me to have the tree up, despite N/A's bizarre claim that I am some kind of sacrilegious atheist, I would be fine with it being called a Christmas tree. I would just like to see other holidays represented too if that is the case. Despite peoples extreme ethnocentrism, there are other kinds of people in the world. Christmas is not the only holiday out there. That is all I'm saying.
julia donahue November 30, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Michelle, you are really brave to put yourself out there....thankfully, there seem to be a few other "broad-minded" folks in the township as well....the anti semetic play on your name shouldn't have surprised me, but in reality, did....my Jewish best friend grew up with a Hanukah Bush, an evergreen tree that was decorated with the Jewish star at the top and decoraed with blue and silver ornaments. They also received gifts on every night of Hanukah. She married a Catholic, so they use multiple symbols representing both holidays. This also may come as a shock but there are OTHER religions dwelling peacefully in our diverse township. Last year I received a beautiful religious Christmas card from a Muslim family...that was GOLD to me!!!! Coexist, it can be done!!
Paul J. DiBartolo November 30, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Remember this, Julia? "racist, jealous haters exist....proof above.....I guess Patch is giving this "wanna-be" his little ego boost by calling him a "writer" (side note, sir, examine your run-on sentences)" (julia donahue - Sunday, Jan 22, 2012) BTW, Julia, shouldn't 'racist' be capitalized at the beginning of your diatribe? Re your response to Michelle, coming from a teacher, I would have expected more "broad-minded"-ness, Julia. Are those who disagree with you all crazed fanatics? Where in GT aren't we coexisting and who is committing crimes of bigotry? So if someone doesn't see it your way then there's something wrong with that person? Isn't this medium for the expression of opinions? Is Michelle in danger by expressing her opinion here? Though Michelle and I disagree on many things, I would defend her right to express herself here and elsewhere unreservedly. Our differences give me opportunity to hear the other side to consider whether I've taken all into account when forming my own opinion. Come on, Julia, you're a teacher, do I really need to go over this for you? Yes, Julia, we are all capable of thinking, not just you. And no, Julia, this is not a personal attack against you but your intimation that those who don't see it your way are unwilling to dwell "peacefully in our diverse township" is offensive. Let's forget all the hatred, Julia, and just try to get along...you know, so Gloucester Township can be the bastion of "diversity" that we all know it is.
Michelle Wolfson November 30, 2012 at 02:44 PM
The best part is Julia... I am not even Jewish. So an anti-semetic remark is really lost on me. And even if I were, so what? If you want to live in a place where everyone is the same, everyone is just like you- same color, same religion, same ethnicity, good luck to you. I hear the 1950's are nice this time of year. Apart from that, good luck. If you notice it is always the small minded bigots who hide behind phony names. Because those are the ones who you know and see in your daily life, who smile to your face, and profess that "some of their best friends are black" or they "have a Jewish friend" and then covertly hold hatred and hostility in their heart for people who are not like them.
Michelle Wolfson November 30, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Paul- I think (and correct me if I am wrong)- that Julia in her comment (at least on this article) was referring merely to N/A's anti-semetic altering of my name after I made my comments. Apparently I, having been baptized a Catholic, can not be of the opinion that it is okay to call it a "holiday" tree without revoking my rights to said religion and becoming some sort of disbelieving, sacrilegious atheist.
Paul J. DiBartolo November 30, 2012 at 02:59 PM
"thankfully, there seem to be a few other "broad-minded" folks in the township as well" When I read that, I think you, Julia, and a "few others," at least according to Julia. Believe me, in Julia's mind, I am not included in that group as evidenced by the first thing she ever wrote to me in response to one of my blogs that I played back in my previous comment. Maybe you have a hard time believing she wrote that, Michelle, but you can search it yourself or I will point you directly to the instance. I have been lectured by Julia before so her comments do not surprise me. You may not want to believe it, Michelle, but even those who tout themselves to be amongst the most "broad-minded" folks in the township are not all they crack themselves up to be. Let's be fair and honest...we all have our own biases to deal with but not all of us are willing to admit it.
Heather November 30, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I am Christian. I have Jewish friends who wouldn't ever use a tree and call it a Hannukah tree because it isn't a holiday tree. It IS considered a Christian Christmas symbol. I get that. Personally though, I don't give a darn what it's called. IT'S A TREE. BTW, the "Christian" Christmas tree has its own pagan roots. What I do care about is the fact that many Christian Holiday things are taken away and turned into "holiday" things so as to be inclusive and it is frustrating sometimes. Just like no one is taking away Hannukah or Kwanzaa many Christians just want "their" holiday to be left alone too. Really though, the manger scene is the Christian symbol - not a tree. The part I do somewhat sympathize with those that get upset is on the flipside, how would people feel if the Menorah was called a holiday candleabra? The only way to get a TRUE reaction to that one would be to actually have the public start doing that and I don't want to see that happen. I just want us to let our HOLIDAYS be our holidays. Happy Holidays because really, there are a lot and it isn't Christmas yet. I think it would be a whole lot cooler if we DID have the different traditional symbols in the same spot. Instead of a "Melting pot" it would truly represent the fact that we are all individuals working together to be community instead of this incredibly [stupid] fight. Signed, someone NOT from your township.

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