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Aurora resident offended by lack of 'Christmas' in tree lighting ceremony
Aug. 9, 2017
By Teresa Latchford

If it talks like Christmas and walks like Christmas, why not call it Christmas?

Last year Aurora resident David Lisi noticed advertisements for the town’s annual tree lighting ceremony and was taken aback by the lack of the word ‘Christmas’ in the title. Curious, he began corresponding with various people at the town to express his concern. In a response to his first email, it was confirmed that the event is representative of the Christian holiday.

“Then why would the ceremony not be called the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony?” Lisi asked.

He wonders if the town hosted other ceremonies whether the wording would be changed, such as calling a lighting of the Menorah a candle lighting ceremony or Ramadan a fasting ceremony.

“Surely you recognize the absurdity and, more importantly, the bigotry in such language,” he said. “When you remove Christmas from Christmas tree, you remove the tree’s identity.”

He strongly feels the town has made a philosophical decision to remove the word from the title of the event, and that it is wrong in doing so. While he suspects the decision was made to make the event seem more inclusive, he feels it is exclusionary to Christians.

Since it’s inception in 2005, the title has never included Christmas.

Lisi pointed out that this year’s event has once again been posted with the same title.

He questions why, in the name of inclusivity, must only the reference to Christian holidays be changed.

“The town recognizes and honours Christmas as one of the celebrations of the winter season,” spokesperson Stephanie Mackenzie-Smith said. “The title of the event is not intended to dismiss this important holiday, and it’s unfortunate that it would be construed that way.”

With the presence of Santa Claus and other Christmas traditions, including storytelling by Mrs. Claus and the live reindeer, Mackenzie-Smith feels the general public understands it is a Christmas event.

“The town has no issue calling the event the ‘Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony’ if that is the will of council,” she said. “We are proud to celebrate the variety of cultures and traditions that make our community a vibrant and inclusive place to be.”