Gov. Haslam’s Monthly Column
The holiday season is in full swing here at the Capitol in Nashville.
We kicked it off just after Thanksgiving with the annual lighting of the Christmas tree, a 30-foot Norway spruce from the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture’s Cumberland Forest near Oliver Springs. The tree included a three-foot star on top, approximately 6,000 bulbs and more than 200 ornaments.
We were joined again this year at War Memorial Plaza by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, and we were treated to entertainment by the 129th Army Band and multi-platinum-selling Curb Records recording artist Lee Brice. We had carriage rides, popcorn, hot chocolate and apple cider. Crissy and I joined Santa and Mrs. Claus to read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” for children, which is always a highlight for us.
The following night, I was joined by Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel, members of Chabad from across the state and children from the Akiva School of Nashville to light the Capitol menorah to mark the second to last night of Chanukah, which fell early this year.
We have also been hosting the annual open house at the Tennessee Residence. The theme for this year’s decorations is “Tennessee Legends,” to celebrate our state’s history. The decorations showcase influential people, places and events throughout Tennessee’s rich past. They include trees and displays featuring Andrew Jackson, Sequoyah, Davy Crockett, Tennessee’s governors and more recent legends like Pat Summitt and Dolly Parton.
Through partnerships with the Tennessee State Museum, the Hermitage, the Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park, the East Tennessee Historical Museum and the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, we have some very special artifacts on display.
While tours of the Residence are given year-round, it’s a lot of fun to have so many visitors come for the holidays. Over the past two years, nearly 10,000 people have attended these open houses.
From Memphis to Mountain City, this is a great time of year to be in Tennessee. Our state has so much to offer.
The holidays are a time to reflect on our many blessings and to spend time with family and friends. In the Volunteer State, we understand the meaning of helping others, and Tennesseans often do a lot of work to help those in need this time of year.
We are especially grateful to the brave men and women serving our state and our nation around the world. We know that they are often far from home and away from their families over the holidays, and we appreciate their sacrifice.
Crissy and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for a Happy New Year.