The Myth About Obama and the Holiday Tree

President Obama and First Family lighting the national Christmas tree
US National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Paul Morigi/Wireimage

There are many vicious rumors about President Barack Obama and his religion. One such myth is that Obama is a closet Muslim. Another alleges Obama canceled the National Day of Prayer.

Here's one more oddball, and wrong, claim that makes the rounds at Christmastime: The Obamas did away with the traditional White House Christmas tree beginning in 2009 in favor of a secular "holiday tree."

Myth of the Obama Holiday Tree Spreads

A widely circulated email reads, in part:

"We have a friend at church who is a very talented artist. For several years she, among many others, has painted ornaments to be hung on the various White House Christmas trees. The WH sends out an invitation to send an ornament and informs the artists of the theme for the year.

"She got her letter from the WH recently. It said that they would not be called Christmas trees this year. They will be called Holiday trees. And, to please not send any ornaments painted with a religious theme."

The myth of the Obama holiday tree is just a bunch of holiday hooey.

The origins of the email are unknown, and thus suspect. The White House has denied ever sending such a letter instructing artists not to send ornaments with religious themes.

How the Obamas Refer to the Tree

The Obamas themselves refer to the tree that adorns the White House Blue Room as a Christmas tree, not a holiday tree.

First Lady Michelle Obama, speaking with the president on his weekly radio address on Dec. 24, 2009, made reference to the White House Christmas tree.

"This is our first Christmas in the White House, and we are so grateful for this extraordinary experience," Mrs. Obama said. "Not far from here, in the Blue Room, is the official White House Christmas tree.

"It's an 18-foot tall Douglas-fir from West Virginia and it's decorated with hundreds of ornaments designed by people and children from all over the country. Each one is a reminder of the traditions we cherish as Americans and the blessings we're thankful for this holiday season."

The official White House website, by the way, contains not a single reference to any "holiday tree."

And the National Christmas Tree Association, whose members have presented the official White House tree for the Blue Room since 1966, also calls it a "Christmas tree," not a holiday tree.

It's time for this holiday hoax to be nipped in the bud.

Read more... Fun Facts About the 2010 White House Christmas Tree