Tis the season of shopping, socializing and celebrating. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says commercialism has over shadowed the holiday season. (Advance copy of weekly commentary).

Thanksgiving is that wonderful holiday dedicated to feasting, family and giving thanks for what we have. The next day, Black Friday, is the day many  people speed to the mall in the pre-dawn darkness to line up under the wary eyes of security cops,  jostle each other and buy more stuff.


Governor Gina Raimondo is using the words “Christmas tree” in connection with a holiday celebration at the State House. That’s in contrast to the initial approach used by former governor Lincoln Chafee.

In Governor Chafee’s first year in office, in 2011, he called the tree in the State House rotunda a “holiday tree.” Chafee maintained his approach was in keeping with tradition, but critics said the governor was stepping on the spirit of the holiday.

Rhode Island In For A Wet, Warm Christmas

Dec 24, 2014

Rhode Island is in for a wet Christmas.  And, as Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender reports, unseasonably warm weather.

The National Weather Service predicts temperatures could hit the upper fifties on Christmas Eve.  There won’t be any snow, but the state can still expect precipitation in the form of heavy rain into Christmas Day.  National Weather Service meteorologist Kimberly Buttrick said temperatures could reach near-record highs.   “Normal highs usually run around forty degrees so for the next three days we can expect unseasonable warmth,” said Buttrick.

Saftey Tips For Live Christmas Trees

Dec 23, 2014
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Holiday decorations are up around the state, and fire departments are reminding residents to stay safe.  And there are a few things to keep in mind this holiday season.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Conservatives love to say that liberalism and political correctness have led to a `War on Christmas’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the war is actually against Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving turkey hasn’t been stuffed yet but the frenzy of Christmas shopping has begun with the annual blizzard of tinsel and glitz. Stroll into your local CVS and you are greeted by shelves festooned with overstuffed Santa Claus figures.

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With Christmas over, many families have already started to take down the tree.  State officials are urging people to recycle them.

Most Rhode Island communities provide curbside pick-up of Christmas trees. The trees are hauled to the central landfill in Johnston, where they’re ground up for use as mulch in the spring.

Sarah Kite, director of recycling services at the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation which operates the landfill, said they accept all organic Christmas decorations provided they’re stripped bare.

John Bender / RIPR

Big box store Target announced last week that a security breach exposed the credit and debit card information of some 40 million customers.

But asthe hours ticked down toward Christmas that didn’t keep Ocean state shoppers away.

With less than 48 hours to go before Christmas morning, a steady stream of customers moved in and out of the Target store at the Warwick Mall.

Many customers seemed unfazed or unworried by the security breach, and most continued to use their credit and debit cards.

Fred and Helen Butts were among many holiday shoppers.

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Rhode Island Christmas tree growers are reporting a profitable year.

There are about 50 Christmas tree growers in Rhode Island.

Eric Wat  ne, president of the Rhode Island Christmas Tree Growers Association said it was his best year ever, with sales rising 20 percent over last year.

Rhode Islanders Can't Rely On A White Christmas

Dec 23, 2013
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island set a record high temperature yesterday when the mercury hit 63 at T.F. Green Airport. The previous record was 61 set in 1990.

The unusually warm weather wiped away most of the snow on the ground.

So how often Rhode Island gets a white Christmas?

Flo Jonic / RIPR

There’s a new Christmas decoration at the Statehouse this year.  And it’s anything but traditional.

Secularists have placed a banner on the second floor of the Statehouse to celebrate the birth of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams. He was born December 21st, 1603.  The banner was erected by a group called the “Humanists of Rhode Island.” 

According to its website, the banner is intended to be a counterpoint to the various religious displays now scattered throughout the Statehouse and to serve as a reminder that American government is secular by nature and design.

Governor Lincoln Chafee is responding to critics regarding the hot-button holiday tree controversy at the State House.

In a statement, the governor starts by saying, "In 2011, my first year celebrating December in the State House I gave a simple six word instruction to the planners of the annual tree lighting: 'Do what they did last year.' ”

Chafee was criticized in the past for describing the Statehouse Christmas tree as a "holiday tree."

Right wing cable television networks and websites love to yammer on about the ``War’’ on Christmas. But when was the last time you saw Fox News talk about the war on Thanksgiving, which seems to many a much more serious threat.

Exhibit A: the growing list of national retail chains opening their doors for the Christmas shopping season on Thanksgiving Day. This year, more than a dozen big retail chains will open Thanksgiving, giving their workers scant chance to celebrate the holiday over a stuffed turkey with their families.

Nutcrackers on display at URI

Dec 26, 2012

If you’re looking to continue the holiday spirit you might want to check out a special display of German Christmas figures at the URI library. The display contains twenty nutcrackers, an orchestra of angels, and a collection of cute incense smokers.  
Retired URI professors Gerald and Sylvia Krausse collected the figures which are all from the Ore Mountains in Germany. Nutcrackers were first created in these mountains and were used to crack nuts but also served another purpose.