During this holiday season, the national spotlight on Rhode Island should have happily focused on the wonderful holiday events; the many theatrical performances of “A Christmas Carol” and the Rhode Island Ballet. The holiday concerts of many churches and schools, where sweet sounding voices enthusiastically replicated the songs of the season; Jingle Bells, Away in a Manger, and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause.
Santa’s presence is multiplied by the many Santa’s “helpers” around the state, including those at the malls, the one that chaperones boat rides up and down the Providence River, and the many who distribute gifts to children, including those children who are ill and disadvantaged. Rhode Island also has their own Polar Express, which magically arrived in Woonsocket to remind children of the classic Christmas tale. Holiday snow, while not always a reliable weather condition, has none-the less visited Yawgoo Valley, where a fanatic can go to enjoy the icy concoction, along with a sled ride.
Focus could have been aimed at the 44th Annual Christmas in Newport, where Newport and the mansions themselves are so festively decorated that anyone’s heart should be warmed with the holiday spirit.
National spotlight could have also been aimed at the many “feel good” volunteer activities around the state; toy collections for Toys for Tots, the shoebox collections to be sent to those in need, and the numerous programs which provide food baskets for less advantaged for the holidays.
Alas, the national spotlight has shown directly on the Christmas tree in the State House; Rhode Island has been nationally recognized for having a “sickly” tree. Similar to many Christmas trees chopped down in November and put up more than a month prior to Christmas, this one had seen its pine needle covering flitter gently to the ground, denuding its branches, at which point it was bullied by the national press. Humiliated by the criticism, a new tree was brought in to reinvigorate the Christmas spirit at the capitol; one that is full and joyous and covered in sparkling lights and ornaments.
Advocate that I am, my heart goes out to the scrawny tree that was replaced. The concept that only an ideal tree can represent our state goes against my life philosophy. I love to see houses with tons of lights and decorations for Christmas, but think nothing less of those houses that may only have a single candle in the windows and a wreath on the door (similar to mine). Similar to the people who live in Rhode Island, all houses are individually decorated. Some have a vibrant, outgoing personality and some are more shy. Some spout bright lights and sounds and choreographed musical performances. Some like the look of huge blow up decorations, politically correct Santa and his Sleigh, Rudolph, Snoopy, Minnie Mouse, Sponge Bob and Paw Patrol. Some are more timid, sporting only a single strand of lights on the front bushes. Many houses this year boast the roving colored light decorations from a projector, an expensive proposition from last year that has blossomed into a less expensive option for the masses, this year to brighten a multitude of homes. The effects of the multi-colored, swirling holiday icons can easily decorate a whole house with only the flip of a switch.
Having an open heart for all Christmas decorations, as having an open heart for all types of people, enables one to enjoy the varieties of the season. There is no such thing as perfection. I would have thrown another string of garland and tons more tinsel on the denuded tree, and let it shine on through the holiday.