But after a "brouhaha" broke out over the matter, Chafee said he's ready to give opponents what they want. The "Christmas tree" will be lit on Thursday.
"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 said in the statement.
"Despite the myriad of pressing issues facing Rhode Island and the nation, this presumably happy event became a focal point for too much anger. Strangely lost in the brouhaha was any intellectual discussion of the liberties pioneered here in Rhode Island 350 years ago in our Charter. Because I do not think how we address the State House tree affects our 'lively experiment,' this year’s invitation calls the tree a Christmas tree."