Councilwoman rescinds after stepping down over ‘Christmas’ being added to tree lighting

A New Jersey councilwoman — a Democrat, naturally — has had second thoughts after stepping down from office when the word “Christmas” was added to the name of her town’s tree-lighting ceremony.

The Roselle Park City Council voted 4-to-2 Thursday to change the name of their “Annual Holiday Tree Lighting” to “Annual Christmas Tree Lighting” — adding “Christmas” back in after it had been taken out in the 1990s, according to

A move that proved to be too much for city council member Charlene Storey, who promptly resigned.

“I cannot in good conscience continue to be part of a council that is exclusionary,” the councilwoman said in her resignation letter. “Or to work with a mayor who is such.”

Storey, who was raised Catholic but is a self-described non-believer, claimed that changing the name of the ceremony “turned it from a non-religious event to a religious one,” reported.

It was  Mayor Carl Hokanson who reached out to Storey, who he described as “a very good councilwoman.”

After the two met on Saturday, she rescinding her resignation, although “Christmas” will remain in the title of the tree lighting ceremony.

Storey was given the opportunity to head a new committee on diversity that will be created — and she has no plans to attend the actual tree lighting event. Bah, humbug!

As for the town’s mayor, he doesn’t get what all the hubbub is about.

“I can’t believe that people are going this crazy over this,” Hokanson told “There are more important things going on in this world.”

“A Christmas tree is a Christmas tree,” he said of the name change, which he proposed.

“Just like the Easter Bunny is the Easter Bunny and not the Holiday Bunny,” he added. “It was never my intent to insult anyone’s beliefs or religion.”


Tom Tillison


Latest Articles