Bethany Beach clarifies definition of ‘Tree of Warmth’

The Town of Bethany Beach found itself in a little unexpected controversy earlier this week after the Town posted a flyer advertising their popular Holiday Happenings event coming up Dec. 5.

On that flyer, they invited people to come to the boardwalk to see the lighting of the “Tree of Warmth.”

Apparently, people on social media saw this as an attack on Christmas and vocally reprimanded the Town for not calling it a Christmas tree, and bowing down to political correctness.

The Town issued a release on Wednesday, Nov. 18, to clarify the Tree of Warmth. Here is that release:

We apologize that so many are offended by the term “Tree of Warmth.” Unfortunately, the term has been taken out of context. Certainly this tree is a Christmas tree, a tree for all to enjoy as they celebrate the Holiday season. The term, Tree of Warmth, was chosen only as part of a marketing strategy between the Town and its business community, to generate interest and participation in the donation of warm clothes for the needy.

A “Tree of Warmth” is not a new concept. The term has been used for years, as other groups, cities and Towns nationwide have used it as they collected warm clothing for the needy. We are taking it a step further by collecting canned goods as well.

In Bethany, people visiting our tree or participating in our Holiday events are asked to bring new or gently used hats, scarves, gloves, and mittens and canned goods to the tree each week. During our celebrations and after choir performances, we will collect the items for distribution to those in need in our area.

There is no underlying conspiracy here. The tree will be beautifully lit and stand on the bandstand plaza as a symbol of the warmth of the season, the Holiday, of Christmas.

It is a sad reflection of our time that so many can take something so simple, benign and charitable and make it so dark and sinister during a season of joy and harmony.