New Traditions Noted For Statehouse Christmas Celebration
November 25, 2014 — TheStatehouseFile.com
INDIANAPOLIS – The first sign that Christmas at the Statehouse would be a little different this year came last week when workers hoisted an enormous wreath up into the rotunda, suspended under the stained glass by wires from balconies on either side.
That’s the spot under which a 25-foot tree typically sits. Last year, it was a Colorado blue spruce, donated by Egolf Christmas Tree Farm and the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association.
But this year, first lady Karen Pence decided to shake things up a bit. The rotunda will have a total of seven Christmas trees – plus the wreath, which was created and donated by the Friends of the Archive. And students won’t bring premade ornaments to hang and leave at the Statehouse. They’ll actually make ornaments on site and take them home to their own trees.
“Last year, a little boy about to hang his ornament on the Statehouse tree exclaimed, ‘I don’t want to hang my ornament on the tree. I want to take it home.’’ Karen Pence said. “This prompted me to think of a way we could further engage the children that will brighten their experience and memories.”
The celebration – an annual tradition for elementary students from all over the state – kicks off Dec. 5. By then, one larger tree will be in the center, under the dome and the wreath, and six more – representing Grades K-5 – will be spread throughout the rotunda.
Students will visit stations to craft their own ornaments.
“As a ceremony finale, the small trees will be lighted by individual students representing each grade level,” Pence said. “The large tree will be lighted by the governor and myself.”
The event will include several traditions, including a visit from Santa, the governor reading The Night Before Christmas, and holiday music from schools around Indiana.