Capitol tree is smaller, but don't judge it just yet

LANSING, MICH. - The Capitol Christmas tree is ready for its close-up Friday, when it will be lit during the annual Silver Bells in the City celebration.

But it already has drawn comments and queries about its stature on social media.

"It's like someone shrunk the traditional tree to 70 percent size," said TJ Bucholz, founder of Vanguard Public Affairs. His office is a short stroll from the tree.

"The Michigan Capitol holiday tree seems a little smaller than usual. Government downsizing?" asked Marcy Christoff of East Lansing.

The 50-foot blue spruce from Sault Ste. Marie in the Upper Peninsula actually is smaller than previous trees, confirmed Matt White, assistant director for Capitol facility operations. But it by no means fits into the Charlie Brown tree category.

Adding bollards — decorative barriers — to the front of the Capitol walkway pushed the tree closer to Capitol Avenue, he said.

"We had to have a smaller tree so it wouldn't stick out into the lanes of traffic," he said.

Trees over the past 15 years or so have ranged from 60 to 73 feet, White said.

The 2012 tree started out at 80 feet tall, but was lopped down to 68 feet due to damage during transport. Some said its red and green lights in a wide-striped pattern resembled an ugly holiday sweater.

"That one, either you liked it or you didn't," White said.

This year's tree is dressed in an  array of red, green, white, purple, blue and yellow lights and topped with a 5-foot lighted star.

White hopes observers will give the tree a chance.

"You can never find a perfect tree, but the lights will make it look beautiful," he said. "That's what the holiday is all about."

Lansing State Journal


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