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In 2019, Gov. Tony Evers began referring to the tree on display in the Capitol Rotunda as the “State Capitol Holiday Tree,” dropping the “Christmas ” title. 

The state began using the “holiday” title in 1985 to avoid perceptions that it was endorsing any religion, the Associated Press reported. 

Republican Gov. Scott Walker reinstated the “Christmas” title. Evers, a Democrat, reversed the name. 

“It’s a holiday season for a whole bunch of people in the state of Wisconsin, even those that aren’t part of the Christian faith. I think it’s a more inclusive thing,” Evers told TMJ4. 

Republicans, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, have continued referring to the towering timber as the “Capitol Christmas Tree.”

In 2019, all Republicans and four Democrats in the state Assembly voted to change the name to “Wisconsin State Christmas Tree” but the measure died in the Senate.


State of Wisconsin: Press Release: Gov. Evers Announces Theme for the 2022 State Capitol Holiday Tree, Invites Students and Families to Create Ornaments Celebrating “Wisconsin Waters”

AP News: Wisconsin governor returns ‘holiday tree’ name to evergreen

TMJ4 News: Gov. Evers tells TODAY’S TMJ4 why he went with ‘Holiday Tree’ over ‘Christmas Tree’

Speaker Robin Vos: You can watch today’s Capitol Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at noon on

Wisconsin State Legislature: 2019 Assembly Vote 70

Wisconsin State Legislature: AJR106: Joint Resolution Text

Wisconsin State Legislature: Assembly Joint Resolution 106

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Hope Karnopp joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism major and is pursuing certificates in public policy and environmental studies at UW-Madison. Hope previously covered state politics as an intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She also works with the Daily Cardinal and hosts a radio segment about campus news for WORT-FM, which has been recognized by the Milwaukee Press Club.