Christmas in the City: The State House Tree Lighting and Holiday Display

Join the Governor as she lights the state Christmas tree


Consisting of trees, garlands, wreaths, poinsettias, topiaries, mantelpieces, bells and a gingerbread display, the State House is an albeit unlikely holiday destination that’s well worth a visit, so stop by during normal working hours. Festivities that are free and open to the public include a performance by the Governor’s Own 88th Army Band, as well as Christmas tree and menorah lighting ceremonies.

Did you know?

  • This year, there are more than 9,000 light bulbs on the main Christmas tree in the rotunda.
  • In addition to the main tree, there are between 16-20 other decorated trees that are part of the holiday display. 
  • The Heroes Tree is decorated by family members to honor Rhode Islanders who have joined the military.
  • The main tree is usually between 15-20 feet tall. This year it will be donated by Big John Leyden’s Christmas Tree Farm of West Greenwich.
  • There are approximately 30 performers in the Governor’s Own 88th Army Band.
  • The gingerbread display in the State Room is donated by the Exeter Job Corps Academy each year.
  • The Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission’s table displays show how various groups of Rhode Islanders celebrate the holidays.

What’s on deck for 2016?

  • The Governor’s Own 88th Army Band will perform at the tree-lighting ceremony on December 1.
  • A menorah lighting celebration is also scheduled for December (check the Governor’s website for an announcement)

Free. Open throughout December, Monday-Friday. 82 Smith Street.

Other Tree Lightings and Holiday Displays:

City of Providence: Join Mayor Elorza for the City’s 2016 Holiday Celebration and Christmas Tree Lighting, complete with a performance by the Providence Gay Men’s Chorus and a figure skating demonstration by Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan. December 2 at City Hall; December 3 at Alex & Ani Skating Center. 680-5770,

46th Annual Christmas in Newport: This month-long celebration features a wide variety of activities including a wreath sale, lantern walking tour, Mistletoe Madness cocktail reception and more. December 1-31. 849-6454,

31st Annual Festival of Lights:
Historic Wickford Village is the site of this four-day festival, which includes a tree lighting, hayrides with Santa, caroling, an elf parade, ice sculptures and more. December 1-4. 295-5566,

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